By David F. Rooney
2013 could see some important new changes — possibly including a new Emergency Department — for Queen Victoria Hospital, says its manager, Julie Lowes.
She said the changes constitute good news for the community and will pique the interest of health service consumers.
“One of the key elements that is very important for the community to know about is our recent announcement about QVH becoming a stroke referral site,” said Lowes who spent 16 years in the UK’s National Health Service before moving to Canada six years ago.
This new designation means suspected stroke patients can be diagnosed here then sent to Shuswap Lakes General Hospital in Salmon Arm for further treatment. SLGH is much closer than Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops where suspected stroke patients were, until now, sent for diagnosis confirmation, treatment and rehabilitation. (Click here to read our story about this change.)
QVH is also in line for a new obstetrics-education program, a new nurse-practitioner, a new physician-surgeon and it is being considered for an expanded and improved Emergency Department, she said in an interview.
Lowes said the obstetrics education program will run for three years. QVH sees a steady number of live births — approximately 90 t0 100 a year, she said.
At the other end of the spectrum, one of the 45 new nurse-practitioners just announced by the province will be based at QVH where she will work with seniors residing in at Mount Cartier Court, Mount Begbie Manor and Moberly Manor.
“The person would be attached to our community-care team but would provide service to elderly people in the community,” Lowes said. “We are extremely excites about having this new resource.”
The hospital is also going to gain a new physician-surgeon sometime this spring.
“This will truly enhance our service,” Lowes said, adding that this third physician-surgeon will make it much easier to “provide 24/7, 365-day-a-year service.”
She also noted that 2013 will see more progress through the Healthy Communities initiative that builds on the good work already underwayin local governments and establishes long–term partnerships between Interior Health and local governments.
And, finally, Interior Health may approve a proposal by Queen Victoria Hospital to build a new Emergency Department.
The existing Emergency Department currently deals with between 460 and 560 patients every month, Lowes said. Their injuries range from those incurred in household mishaps to serious traumas caused by snowmobile, skiing and highway accidents.
She would not estimate the cost of a new department.