B.C. government orders review of Fraser Health Authority

B.C.’s health minister has ordered a strategic and operational review of the Fraser Health Authority, one day after nurses in the region held a press conference to decry the “ongoing chaos” in Surrey’s emergency rooms.

The move comes after questions are raised about the region's chronically crowded emergency rooms

The B.C. government has ordered a review of Fraser Health region 2:21

B.C.’s minister of health has ordered a strategic and operational review of the Fraser Health Authority, one day after nurses in the region held a press conference to decry the “ongoing chaos” in Surrey’s emergency rooms.

Minister Terry Lake said in a statement that the review “presents an opportunity to ensure the talented resources we have in our health-care system support Fraser Health's delivery of quality and sustainable health-care services."

The review is expected to be completed by next spring.

I want to get information so I can make informed decisions about the future of Fraser Health. For me it's all about doing the diagnostic work before deciding what the way forward is.- Terry Lake, B.C. Health Minister

The committee doing the review will be comprised of provincial health leaders appointed by Lake and will work with the Fraser Health board to examine the authority’s “current operational practices and identify priority action areas to address service and fiscal challenges,” according to the statement.

In a subsequent conference call with reporters, Lake said he's not looking at replacing upper management at Fraser Health, or restructuring the health authority — at least not anytime soon.

"I'm not the kind of person that jumps to a conclusion. I want to get information so I can make informed decisions about the future of Fraser Health. For me it's all about doing the diagnostic work before deciding what the way forward is."

A bed at the new ER at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The B.C. Nurses Union argues that nurse-patient ratios have skyrocketed because of unfilled staffing vacancies, and that money has to be spent on more staff, not just new facilities. (Fraser Health)

Lake disagrees hospitals in the region are in chaos, but he does acknowledge that there are what he calls "congestion issues" in the emergency rooms.

Fraser Health is the fastest-growing health authority in British Columbia and serves more than 1.6 million individuals, from Burnaby to Boston Bar. The authority receives a funding allocation of $2.5 billion from the Ministry of Health and has received funding increases averaging six per cent per year over the past three years.

With files from the CBC's Steve Lus

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