Health Minister Adrian Dix is ​​planning a summer tour of hospitals across the province in the hopes of addressing the broad issue of health-care and acute-care demand.

While announcing a host of short-, medium- and long-term solutions and actions for Surrey Memorial Hospital Wednesday (June 7), Dix said he would be meeting with the hospital over the summer “to find solutions for their workplaces that work for them. ”

“We know that other hospitals across the province are facing similar crises, with a growing population and staffing challenges.”

Dix said one of the common challenges is with the increased demand, is hospitals are running over capacity. Those periods are usually followed by periods of running under capacity, which “allows people to breathe a little bit,” but that’s not the case anymore.

“Every day, every single day, is intense across the system.”

He said what happens in emergency departments is “kind of a bellwether” of what happens elsewhere in the health-care system.

“If you don’t have good enough primary care, people have to go to the emergency room. If you don’t have enough long-term care, and people are on the wards, you can’t move people from the emergency room to the wards.”

It comes as health care across the province is at a breaking point, with some hospitals closing overnight or over weekends due to staffing issues.

At Surrey Memorial, Dix said the government’s plan “bolsters” and buildings on consultation with staff. Some of the short-term actions include: working with hospitalists to stabilize physician workforces, opening a care and triage unit in emergency, and increasing funding available for coverage. In the medium-term, plans include refreshing clinical service planning, expanding renal services within 18 months, building a second interventional radiology suite and completing the renovation of the existing operating rooms.

Asked if other regions and hospitals could see similar solutions, Dix said “it’s different in different places.”

“But the broad issue of health-care demand, acute-care demand is one that isn’t just a Surrey issue … There are lots of challenges throughout the system, and I think it would feel differently.”

He pointed to a recent conversation with health-care workers in Fort St. James, which has a team-based care approach.

“They might be a little different there than they are in Surrey, but that’s why you have to go and see people.”

Dix didn’t give a specific list of which areas he’ll be visiting for the meetings.

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