B.C.’s hospital system operated over capacity again in 2018-19.
Figures obtained by The News for the last fiscal year show that across all of British Columbia, more days were logged in acute-care wards than were budgeted for by provincial health authorities.
That means that thousands of patients spent time in acute-care spaces not budgeted and designated for such use.
A 2015 report for Fraser Health warned that “maintaining high hospital occupancy (over 95 per cent) is associated with longer lengths of stay and higher risk for errors and adverse events.”
Nevertheless, the provincial hospital system has operated above 100 per cent for the last five years. Last year, the provincewide occupancy rate was 103.2 per cent, up from 102.7 per cent in each of the two previous years.
The Northern Health Authority was the most-crowded in the province, operating at 113 per cent capacity. The region’s largest hospital – the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia – was the third most-crowded large facility in the province with a 116 per cent operating rate. The two most-crowded large facilities in the province were in the Fraser Valley, where Chilliwack General Hospital and Abbotsford Regional Hospital had occupancy rates of 123 per cent and 118 per cent, respectively. The Fraser East health region, where both hospitals are located, was the most-crowded health region in the province.
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