British Columbia

'Hallway medicine' slammed by NDP

Placing patients in hallways is becoming standard practice at four Lower Mainland hospitals, says the NDP's health critic, who blames the situation on the B.C. government.

Placing patients in hallways is becoming standard practice at four Lower Mainland hospitals, says the NDP's health critic, who blames the situation on theB.C. government.

Adrian Dix cites a letter being given to patients at four hospitals—St. Paul's, Vancouver General, Mount St. Joseph's and Richmond Hospital.

The letter from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority explains that when there is overcrowding, a patientmay be kept in the emergency room for an extended stay on a bed or a stretcher.

It also warns that a patient in the in-patient ward may be moved out to the hallway to make room for a "more critically ill patient."

Dix said he's concerned that conditions normally associated with extreme situations have become commonplace in B.C. hospitals.

"This idea that you're in your hospital room and that you can be moved out into the hallway when clearly you're there because you need care is a very serious situation.

"I'm not blaming the people at the hospital for dealing with an impossible situation the best way they can.But I am saying this development of hallway medicine is really a problem."

Dixsaid the situationis the result of the B.C. Liberal government's reluctance to spend more money to add acute and long-term care beds.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority spokeswomanViviana Zanocco admits putting people in the hallway is not ideal, but saysthe alternativewould see peoplebeing turned away from hospitals.

She said the current health authority policy is just reality and should not be used as a political issue because the situation isn't new

"It's not so extreme anymore. I mean, there have been news stories about crowded emergency rooms dating back to the 1970s."

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