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October 27, 2017 6:49 pm

Northern Health Working on Addressing Surgical Concerns

Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 11:47 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  Northern Health  is  working on a master plan  that will  address the concerns  expressed by  surgeons  over the  state of the  surgical suites at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and lack of surgical time,   but it could be years before  there is any relief.

Over the past  couple of weeks, the Province has  announced major funding for  new surgical suites in the lower mainland,  and  dollars to  increase the number of  surgeries in that part of B.C.

Surgeons in  Prince George complain  they are not  getting the  surgery times they are supposed to  get,  and that the  current surgical suites at  the University Hospital of Northern B.C. are in  dire need of updating.

When  the Premier was asked recently  why there has been no  similar funding  for the University Hospital of Northern B.C.,  she  said  there is work underway, and when  Northern Health’s request becomes more “fulsome” the Province will look at it.

Northern Health Board Chair, Dr. Charles Jago  confirms there is work underway, ” We have been   working on a master plan for UHNBC for a while now,  and we are still  in the process of developing  that master plan, it’s very comprehensive.”  He says the master plan  “certainly addresses the needs that the surgeons  are  identifying as critical needs”   and adds “The main thing is,  we are actively involved in a major planning exercise.”   Dr. Jago,  says the  surgeons are part of that steering committee “So they know what’s going on.  We are at the point of moving that planning forward and  engaging the Ministry (of Health) in the final planning of that exercise.”

Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich  says the  development of the master plan is just one of several phases that  have to be completed before  any  changes take place and the next  phase would be  a concept plan  “which really takes some of the work we’ve  done in the Master plan and gets it into a more specific form.  The next stage after that is called  a business  plan,  then following the business plan  we move into a procurement process for the actual project that  is approved.”

Dr. Jago  says  the time frame to navigate  and complete all of the  phases is “optimistically, five years,   it’s unlikely to  be much less than that,  it could be a couple  years more, but   we know there  are critical needs,  we know it’s important that they   be addressed and we are pushing forward very vigorously both  at this stage of planning and to get the full support  of the Ministry to move this forward.”





Charles Jago states; “Northern Health Board Chair, Dr. Charles Jago confirms there is work underway, ” We have been working on a master plan for UHNBC for a while now…”

And yet the need for more surgical suites is a “critical” (immediate) need! If you try reconcile a multi-year planning process with medical critical needs and shortages, then you may as well “plan” on having someone die waiting for surgery, IMO.

What is she the leader trying to say?

My dictionary describes the meaning of ‘fulsome’ as insincerely excessive.

That about describes spending announcements near election time;

insincerely excessive.


I heard the problem isn’t the surgeons it is the hospital or northern health refuses to hire nurses for the surgical suites and recovery wards.

As I see it at the present time only two of the six operating rooms are in use. There is also a severe shortage of anesthetists and OR nurses. Perhaps northern health should concentrate on improving the staffing situation before adding the physical structure. Capital expenditure is not as critical as performing surgeries. Let’s get the planning in proper sequence!

They are still talking smoke and mirrors.

Are they talking physical facilities “master plan”, or staffing master plan, as well as funding master plan? I would think all of those and then some.

Where is the previous 5 year plan? Do they start planning the next five year plan after the previous one has been completed, or is it a continuous process so that different components get looked at in 5 year or less overlapping intervals? Surely they are able to think in parallel rather than just sequentially.

What is so secretive about the topic of how our health care system is being handled? It is not as if we have a major other health care provider working in competition with Northern Health. Or is there competition other than some of the small private clinics?

Someone needs to give northern health a kick in the butt to be more transparent. It begs the question, “what are they trying to hide?”

    Agreed…and what is the plan for the aging population? Currently too many of the rooms have elderly people waiting for long term care beds thus increasing wait times.

      It seems we the elderly are pushed off into a corner and placed on long waiting lists, almost like they hope we die before they have to deal with us.

I see Northern Health is still blowing smoke.

Part of the problem could be as follows.

1. Develop a Master Plan.
2. Then a Concept Plan.
3. Then a business Plan.
4. Then a Procurement Process.

Approx time five years. Hmmmmmmmm.

Perhaps we should just hire the necessary staff to run one operating room, which I am guessing would be around 7 bodies. Then buy the equipment and furnish one of the empty operating rooms. Having one extra operating room should take some pressure off the present system, while others are working on the plan.

Make no mistake about it, it will be very expensive to set up one more operating room on a full time basis. How expensive? Who knows, perhaps Northern Health could give us some indication. My guess would be in the area of $2 Million per year.

i love how all this money shows up right before election time…how convenient..but they aren’t trying to buy votes etc…oh no…the gov would never lie to us….

When I had my stay in the hospital it seems that the operating tables aren’t being used full time.. poor scheduling and lack of desire to have surgeons working. Thanks northern health..better hire a few more managers.

Maybe the plan is to starve the current system for money and let it get so run down that the private clinics can step in.

So can someone decipher what was said in the second to last paragraph?

    What was said is Gobbledygook, for which the definition is:

    **Language that is meaningless, or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense.

    I think is is similar to the “studies” our previous council used to do a lot of.
    Everybody gets paid though nothing gets done

We need more time for operations. My family had to go to Quesnel. Go figure.

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