Queen Charlotte hospital loses x-ray capacity

  • Jul. 16, 2004 11:00 a.m.

By Heidi Bevington-The Queen Charlotte hospital is losing its x-ray technician and patients may have to travel to Masset until a replacement can be found.
The hospital has booked some locums to run the x-ray department between now and Christmas, but there are large blocks of time when the department will be shut down, said Dr. Tracy Morton. Which means a “somewhat increased risk in an emergency situation. We can make decisions, but with less information,” Dr. Morton said.
In an emergency, patients could be transferred to Masset for x-ray, but this is hard on patients as well as taking the ambulance out of the community for at least four hours and adding to the Masset technician’s workload.
In cases where a patient is too unstable to get to Masset, Queen Charlotte doctors are investigating the possibility of getting the Masset technician to come south, but this would mean several hours of driving, possibly in difficult winter conditions, Dr. Morton said.
Doctors are also investigating if the Masset technician could visit the Queen Charlotte hospital once or twice a week for non-emergency x-rays, Dr. Morton said.
The Northern Health Authority has advertised for a replacement but not widely, said Dr. Morton. Like nurses, technicians are in short supply, and the islands are not necessarily an attractive posting because of long hours and the remote location. Technicians are on call 24/7 with little relief.
Local doctors and the local Health Watch committee are trying to pressure Northern Health to take the situation more seriously, Dr. Morton said. He said concerned citizens should write directly to their MLA. This has brought good results in the past, he said.
• Our MLA is Bill Belsey, 255 Third Ave West, Prince Rupert, BC, V8J 1L2 or e-mail him at bill.belsey.mla@leg.bc.ca
• The X-ray department will close on July 19 until July 27. It will then be closed Aug. 8 until further notice. Tentatively it will be open Sept. 9 until Oct. 4, and Nov. 29 until Dec. 22. Call 626-4704 if you need more information.

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