Health officials say an internal memo citing hospital capacity issues leaked to the press was misunderstood and the public should not be concerned.
As Victoria’s Capital Daily first reported, an internal memo has been released advising staff at Victoria General Hospital of an “over-enumeration situation” and advising them to consider using hotel rooms.
The memo, independently obtained by CBC, says acute care sites are specifically dealing with this crisis. Island Health says the directive relates to those sites, but does not impact those seeking acute care – rather it is for those who have received care and need a place to stay during the interim.
In an emailed statement, the health authority said that although hospitals are “extremely busy”, they are ready to care for anyone in need of medical attention.
“There is not and never has been a plan to place inpatients requiring acute care in hotel rooms,” the statement said.
Island Health says it occasionally uses hotel rooms for people who do not need acute care but whose living conditions are unsafe, for example, someone who is homeless or waiting for a bed in another establishment.
The memo also suggested other steps hospital staff could take to speed up the discharge process, including working overtime and helping leaders, to create more space for acute care patients at the hospital. ‘hospital.
During a media scrum, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the memo was specifically aimed at rehab coordinators who facilitate discharge, to remind them of those options.
“It doesn’t happen that we send people who need acute care to hotel rooms. It wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t make sense for that to happen,” Dix told reporters.
Saanich Peninsula Hospital was on ambulance diversion – where patients transported by ambulance are diverted to another nearby hospital – for 45 minutes on April 24, but the emergency room remained open to walk-in patients you, according to the health authority. No further information on why this happened or how it was resolved was provided.
Dix said hospital capacity continues to be a challenge as the pandemic and toxic drug crisis continues. Last week’s COVID figures showed hospitalizations were up 33% from the previous week.
Criticism of reports on the numbers
As of April 21, 485 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 38 in intensive care, according to the BC COVID-19 dashboard.
After two years of daily reporting of hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19, the province moved to releasing information on Thursdays three weeks ago.
Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau criticized the government’s decision to release weekly reports on COVID-19 during Question Period on Tuesday after the Capital Daily article was published, saying she would prefer to know more about hospital capacity issues with the government rather than through the media.
“It’s very important to have transparency and provide proper assessment of the circumstances in our public health care system today,” Dix said in response.