Masset councillors are asking for a word on Haida Gwaii’s newest hospital: ‘Southern.’
Councillor Tony Tyler says the English part of the new hospital’s name is confusing to some patients and off-island healthcare workers, mostly because “Haida Gwaii Hospital” suggests there is only one hospital on Haida Gwaii when in fact there are two.
Tyler recently spoke with a north-end resident who said she had a specialist appointment on island booked several months in advance, but the visiting specialist booked it at the hospital in Queen Charlotte, thinking it was the only one here.
“Why weren’t they given the name Southern Haida Gwaii Hospital?” Tyler asked at a Jan. 23 Masset council meeting.
“It’s creating confusion for everybody that’s not here, and don’t know there are two,” he said.
“Even for people on island it creates confusion.”
Masset councillors agreed to write Northern Health and B.C.’s Ministry of Health to alert them to the issue, and to suggest the south-end hospital add the term “Southern” or use its Haida language name.
When it opened in 2008, the north-end hospital between Old Massett and Masset was given the name “Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital.” It serves everyone living north of the Tlell bridge, which is about the same population size as that served by the south-end hospital.
Three months ago, the new hospital in Queen Charlotte opened with the full name “Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre – Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay.”
The name was chosen in November 2015 by a six-member committee that included people from Northern Health, Skidegate, Queen Charlotte, Sandspit, and the North West Regional Hospital District.
Although it was announced publicly on Hospital Day and the committee invited public comment, no one raised the north/south issue at the time.
In an email, a Northern Health spokesperson said none of its staff or physicians have heard any confusion over the new hospital name.
Likewise, a spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Services said no pilots have landed at the wrong hospital for a medical evacuation.
Northern Health does make it possible for hospitals to be re-named. For a hospital, a re-naming would require a written request, review by a naming committee, public consultation, and a ministerial order to make the change.