B.C. government activates pediatric table to address surge in hospital admissions

WATCH: The number of kids being admitted to intensive care in BC continues to climb, putting a strain on occupancy rates and wait times. Rumina Daya has more on what effect this is having on families.

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced Wednesday that the province has activated a new system to address the surge in admissions for pediatric patients.

This means a dedicated provincial pediatric table, led by BC Children’s Hospital, will coordinate pediatric resources and rapidly respond to increased demand across the province.

It will include an improvement to emergency department triage processes, Henry explained, and will work to connect patients with options at the community care level rather than unnecessary hospital stays or long emergency department waits.

The province will be hiring additional patient care coordinators to take on this role and will work with urgent and primary care centres to provide the best level of care.

Pediatric ICUs are located at the BC Children’s, Victoria General and University of Northern BC hospitals.

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Data provided by the province showed that between Sept. 1 and Nov. 14, emergency department visits varied considerably day-to-day.

However, the average daily visits were approximately 6,700 in September and October.

In November to date, daily emergency department visits were up slightly, averaging 6,765.

The Ministry of Health said service reductions, including postponing surgeries, could be required while the province deals with the increase in hospital visits.

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This news comes as dozens of parents with sick kids waited hours at BC Children’s Hospital Tuesday night to be seen by a doctor.

One of them was Deanna Conley’s teenage daughter.

Conley told Global News that she tried taking her to other hospitals but was turned away because of her daughter’s age.

She was stuck waiting at BC Children’s hospital for hours along with plenty of other sick children.

“It is insanely busy and we have been in line for about an hour and we still have about 17 people in front of us just to get registered,” she said.

“There’s nowhere to sit, there’s nowhere to stand. It’s insane.”

— with files from Darrian Matassa-Fung and Rumina Daya

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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