Skip to content

Dix provides update on ‘30 promised health care actions’ for Surrey hospital

Surrey is ‘shy of the health care it deserves’ says Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke
Health Minister Adrian Dix at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Surrey Thursday (March 7) to give a status report on the “30 promised health care actions” he announced in June 2023.

In June, Dix announced that the province had identified short-term, long-term and medium-term strategies to improve care at – and even expand – Surrey’s bustling and oft-embattled hospital.

Nearly half of those actions have been completed, Dix said. Progress has been made on the remaining 17 actions.

“Even when you invest significantly, there is demand,” Dix said. “That demand is significant, and we need to respond to it together, and that is what we have done at Surrey Memorial Hospital.”

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke told the Now-Leader Friday (March 8) that it was good to hear about to progress being made on the actions, but she was hoping for more.

“I was really hoping for an announcement of an additional tower to Surrey Memorial,” Locke said.

“I think what we hear too often and what we saw yesterday was mere band-aid solutions for our for health care system and Surrey,” Locke said. “We are at a tipping point with infrastructure in Surrey health care is one of the most critical ones.”

Locke feels that Surrey often has to “sit back and wait” when it comes to improvements to health care in Surrey. “We have a lot of catching up to do,” Locke said.

“Ultimately, we need a plan in Surrey. We need a plan to fulfill the infrastructure deficits that this city is facing, and they are enormous,” Locke said. “And I just feel that somehow the province doesn’t fully understand, whether it is that the MLAs are not communicating that to minister of health, I don’t know, but we are certainly certainly shy of the health care that our city deserves.”

Locke added it was great news to hear about the progress being made on the two cath labs and the new renal unit.

Dix said, “in the coming weeks, pre-construction will begin for a new standalone renal hemodialysis facility located on the northwestern corner of the Surrey Memorial Hospital campus.”

“The new renal hemodialysis facility will be able to treat more patients with kidney disease by adding 21 new renal services beds, bringing the total here in Surrey to 60.”

Construction on the facility is expected to be completed by 2025 and will open soon after, Dix said.

Elaine Aure, clinical operations director of Surrey Memorial Hospital’s renal program, said this new facility will help “meet the growing demand for renal services both now and in the years to come.”

“This specialized space will improve the comfort of patients during hemodialysis and provide life-supporting care that enables them to live full and productive lives,” Aure said.

“By extending our number of hemodialysis patients, we will be better positioned to meet the needs for this life sustaining treatment for our growing population in the South Fraser region,” Aure said. “This will ultimately provide significant benefits to both patients and their families and help to improve their overall well-being.”

The planning and design of the cardiac catheterization suites is nearly finished, and “we’ll be starting decanting moves soon,” Dix said. The new suites will be located on the third floor of the critical care tower at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Courtney Young, local department head for Cardiology at Surrey Memorial Hospital, said she was filled with pride and excitement about today’s announcement. Young was one of many healthcare workers who met with Dix in June.

“We’re embarking on a journey that will revolutionize cardiac care and Surrey and Fraser South,” Young said.

“The development of not one but two cardiac catheterization labs in Surrey marks a historic milestone for the community,” Young said.

“These labs will be the first of their kind that are south of the Fraser River, bringing advanced cardiovascular care to patients closer to home.”

“What does this mean for our community? It means access. It means access to life-saving procedures that can diagnose and treat a myriad of health conditions. It means peace of mind for families, knowing that their loved ones will be treated closer to home.”

READ MORE: On eve of health care rally, Dix hails progress to improve care at Surrey hospital

READ MORE: Surrey residents feel ‘failed by the healthcare system’

READ MORE: Help coming to ease strain at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Dix announces

Dix said some of the strategies already implemented are:

• All 15 relational security officer positions have been filled to increase security at the hospital

• The internal medicine bed capacity has been expanded from 30 to 90 beds

• Fraser Health leased a local motel in Surrey to ‘assist vulnerable people’ discharged from hospital

• Fraser Health installed portables to be used as a temporary pediatric emergency waitroom

• Recruited and hired more healthcare workers including, 75 internationally educated nurses, 70 physicians, 117 nurse graduates, 164 student nurses and 21 resident clinical associates have been recruited to support internal medicine clinicians

Dix said he would be back in the coming months to provide another update on the actions.

The day after his last update in September, hundreds of health-care workers, politicians, business leaders and Surrey residents rallied at Surrey’s Civic Plaza on Sept. 9 to voice their concerns about the state of health care in the region.

“We’re here, because collectively, we’re fed up with the neglect this region has experienced for decades,” said Emergency Room physician and director of Surrey Hospitals Foundation Dr. Randeep Gill. “The chronic systemic under-funding and under-investment has put us back so far, and that neglect has real life consequences.”

READ : Surrey hospital installs temporary pediatric emergency waitroom

READ MORE: Fraser Health leases local motel in Surrey to ‘assist vulnerable people’ discharged from hospital

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
Read more