Vancouver General’s ER care is subpar. The staff knows it:

Emergency patients at Vancouver General Hospital are being told by their physicians that they can no longer guarantee “safe, timely and appropriate emergency care.”

The blunt warning is contained in unsigned letters being handed out to patients this week, and is said to represent the views of “a majority of the emergency physicians working at [VGH].”

The doctors say their ability to provide care is being compromised by increased overcrowding and stressful working conditions.

Too many patients are being left to languish, sometimes for days, in the emergency department’s waiting room, hallways and triage area because acute-care hospital beds are full, they say.

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  • Jessica Otte

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m a medical student in Vancouver, and have definitely heard the same tale from ER docs here. There aren’t even enough stretchers to accomodate everyone in the hallways at times.

    VGH is picking up the results of closure of other local ERs. For example, the University of British Columbia hospital is no longer an “ER” but rather an “Urgent Care” facility. They have reduced hours and only handle a small range of complaints or arrange transport to the other hospitals, where necessary.

    St. Paul’s hospital, downtown, often has trouble dealing with the sheer volume of patients as well. In their case, it tends to be substance-abuse, sex-trade work, a large LGBTQ population, and homelessness-related issues. The downtown eastside population has a very high rate of heroin use, alcoholism, and HIV/AIDs, all of which are primarily handled at St. Pauls.

    Hopefully, some of the money our new government promises will be cranked into reduced wait-times may lead to freeing up of some of those acute beds. Also, new deals for BC nurses and physicians could lighten the stress.

    Jessica (my med blog about an upcoming overseas medical trek & rural clinical position)

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