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October 28, 2017 3:45 am

No Traction for Hub and Spoke Surgical Services Idea

Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

Prince Rupert, B.C. – Although there are some who are not convinced, Northern Health says a recommendation from a consultant that the northwest and north east areas of Northern Health adopt a hub and spoke model for surgical services is a dead issue.

Under that kind of model, some surgeries would be consolidated at locations that could provide complicated surgical services, such as trauma care, and provide outreach into the surrounding community.

When the recommendation first surfaced in a report from a team that reviewed surgical services throughout Northern Health, it raised the hackles of many in Prince Rupert . They were concerned Northern Health was going to act quickly on that idea, and remove some surgical services from Prince Rupert and centralize all surgical services in Terrace. “I can assure you that is not Northern Health’s intent at all” says Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health CEO. “We are rather, focused on more of a networking of services, similar to what we’ve done with the cancer strategy, where you build the centre, but at the same time, build strength in the surrounding communities so you have a network of services.”

“Whenever an external review is done, we look at the recommendations and we usually put them in three categories” says Ulrich.   She describes the categories as   :

  1. one that makes sense, is evidence based  and would help quality
  2. make sense, but   cannot be implemented because of a variety of reasons ( lack of proper infrastructure would be one)
  3. things that are put on a back burner for consideration at a future date.

In the case of the hub and spoke idea, Ulrich says that recommendation fell into category 3. “We’re not sure that recommendation makes sense.”

Northern Health Board Chair Dr. Charles Jago says although Northern Health has advised the surgeons in the northeast that the hub and spoke model is off the table for Prince Rupert, there are lingering doubts “We have assured them of that intent, but some of them are not entirely convinced.”

Dr. Jago points to the Prince George region as an example “A lot of surgery takes place in Prince George, but there’s also surgery in Vanderhoof and Quesnel. You don’t rob the periphery in order to feed the centre. That’s not the way Northern Health proposes to proceed in anything. You want to create a network of services, a degree of consolidation you need, to, for instance, meet the requirements for a trauma centre you have to have some consolidation. But you don’t want to gut the other facilities in order to get there.”

CEO Ulrich says the bottom line is, the issue is a non starter “There is no intention of shutting down surgery in Prince Rupert, ever.”


We at northern health do what ever we can to have more managers.. right now with 1 manager for every 4 workers is overloading our management so we are trying to make it 1 to 3.. as for these reccomendations.. we dont like them.. unless we can have more managers on the payroll..

Wait times… we love them.. we have a group of managers incompetantly looking after it now.. so we are good there..

Man! I have to agree with P Val again!

I believe it was back in last December there was a report in the paper on largest employers in Prince George. Guess what; the largest employer was none other than Northern Health, second came UNBC, and third (if my memory is correct) was Canfor; and I thought Canfor was on top.
Other sources advise we have managers, for managers, for managers – not sure of how many levels there are between health practitioners on the wards and the CEO. But one could guess the ratio of administrators including managers versus practitioners would be alarming!
Perhaps it is time for some realistic reviews.
How about each hospital working as its own business centre that would include being able to hire or contract as many health practitioners as they would require to conduct appropriate health care operations. That way we might even see some significant reduction in the need for overloading administrators. This could also lead to reduced wait times.
Hey, this could even reduce health care costs, while at the same time being able maintain current pay rates! Wow!
Hmm – Soon I will wake up and realize this is truly only a dream!

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