BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

August 06, 2008 13:00 ET

BC Medical Association: More Hospital Beds Will Improve the Health of British Columbians

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2008) - Imagine a time in which patients requiring surgical or medical procedures know the date it will take place, are confident that a bed and necessary staff to care for them are available, and after release from the hospital, have access to sufficient resources in the community to keep them healthy. The doctors of BC say this scenario is possible if certain principles are followed and government and doctors work together to achieve it.

The BC Medical Association delivered to the provincial government today its policy paper entitled, Improving Access to Acute Care Services. Comprised of eight tenets, this paper calls on the provincial government to adopt transparent principles for the effective supply and management of acute care beds across the province.

"Patients have the right to timely access to acute care services and governments have a responsibility to provide it. This means a commitment must be made for maximum allowable waits for treatment," said Dr. Shelley Ross, co-author of the paper and Chair of the BC Medical Association's Council on Health Economics and Policy. "The only way to achieve this is to increase the number of acute care beds, provide the necessary resources to support those beds, and do a better job of managing them than we currently do."

It all starts with the beds. The current shortage of staffed acute care beds significantly impacts physicians' and other health care workers' abilities to care for emergency and scheduled admissions. Emergency department overcrowding occurs frequently, elective surgeries are cancelled, and patients are being released earlier than in the past because there are not enough acute care beds or the resources to support them.

"To ensure success, good community based care must also exist," says Dr. Ross. "People at risk who have access to effective community services often spend less time in hospital and are also re-admitted less frequently."

Efforts to improve access to acute care must focus on establishing wait time benchmarks, increasing the supply of acute care beds, investing in community-based care, and improving government accountability through regular public reporting.

Contact Information

  • BC Medical Association
    Sharon Shore
    Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations
    (604) 638-2832 or (604) 306-1866 (pager)
    Website: www.bcma.org