The new Cowichan District hospital is scheduled to be complete by 2024 so that leaves four more years of operating over capacity — and budgeting — at the current Gibbins Road facility.
But Cowichan is not alone.
Across the province, thousands of patients have spent time in acute care spaces not budgeted and designated for such use.
With the promise of more space on the way, it’s noteworthy that while, yes, CDH’s in-patient ward has exceeded capacity every year since at least 2014 (according to a Ministry of Health document obtained by Black Press), the 2018/2019 fiscal year actually show a slight decrease in over-crowing when compared to the 2017/18 fiscal year.
The occupancy rates for CDH were 108.2 per cent in 2018/19 compared to 107.7 per cent in 2017/18. The two fiscal years prior to that both ended at roughly 112 per cent each year.
While still operating over capacity, CDH is actually 24th on the list of nearly 50 B.C. hospitals running above 100 per cent capacity with Stuart Lake Hospital in Fort St. James topping the list, operating at 135.3 per cent.
B.C.’s most crowded hospitals are in the Fraser Valley and Northern B.C.
The provincial hospital system has operated above 100 per cent for the last five years. Last year, the province-wide occupancy rate was 103.2 per cent, up from 102.7 per cent each of the two previous years, so Cowichan still ranks above the average.
A 2015 report for Fraser Health warned that “maintaining high hospital occupancy (over 95 per cent) is associated with longer lengths of stay and higher risk for errors and adverse events.”
—With files from Tyler Olsen