MLAs Stone, Milobar demand change from Health Minister, Royal Inland Hospital

MLAs want change for RIH

Kamloops MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar are calling for big changes at Royal Inland Hospital.

At a press conference on Thursday morning, the BC Liberal MLAs for Kamloops called for Adrian Dix, the provincial minister of health, to take action.

“Frankly, the situation at Royal Inland Hospital has become more stressful, more dangerous by the day,” Stone said.

“We are calling on Health Minister Adrian Dix to once and for all end the rhetoric, and step up and fix the health crisis that has been worsening by the day inside our hospital.”

Stone said if Dix could not step up and fix the health crisis now, then he needs to be replaced as health minister by someone who can.

“We have frankly lost confidence in the ability of Interior Health to meet the needs of the city and our region,” the MLA said.

RIH has been under fire numerous times in the last few years.

The hospital has been highlighted in the news after many nurses and healthcare staff have shared stories of understaffing and toxic work environments.

In September, Stone and Milobar held a joint press conference a week after a 70-year-old woman died while waiting in the hospital emergency room. At that time, the pair called for the government to put forward a credible plan with clear implementation timelines to address staffing shortages.

While healthcare systems all over the world have been strained by the pandemic, Stone said Thursday that the situation at RIH has been deteriorating for years under Dix' watch.

“This hasn't unfolded over just the last month or just the last year,” Stone said.

“The situation at Royal Inland Hospital has been worsening over the last four to five years and it will continue to get worse if action isn't taken to make it better.”

According to Stone, the staffing issues at RIH are only getting worse by the day.

Stone and Milobar said they had obtained data from healthcare workers themselves, showing the Kamloops emergency room never had more than 53 per cent staffing levels over the May long weekend.

Their report indicates between the ER and ICU, there are about 60 vacant full time positions, and over the next two months, there are nearly 20,000 unfilled shift hours between the emergency room and intensive care unit at RIH.

On Thursday, the Kamloops MLAs proposed replacing the current human resources administration structure at RIH with a model similar to the one used at Kelowna General Hospital.

Stone and Milobar also suggested the government focus on the province-wide lack of family doctors, which has been putting added strain on the ER.

The MLAs said they would like to see a plan for retention and recruitment of health care workers as well as a roadmap for adding more fully-staffed and resourced operating rooms.

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