Rich Dillon is the new executive director of Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Fraser Health/Special to The News)

Ridge Meadows Hospital executive director an “out-of-the-box” thinker

Rich Dillon brings years of valuable experience with Vancouver Coastal Health

Ridge Meadows Hospital has a new executive director.

Richard Dillon stepped into the position, taking over the reins from Valerie Spurrell, a little more than four weeks ago and is hoping to bring energy, enthusiasm and experience to his new role.

He is a nurse by trade, graduating almost 20 years ago. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Specialty Nursing from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Dillon spent a number of years in critical areas like the emergency department and the ICU and has gradually worked his way through the health care system into prominent leadership roles within the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

His most recent position was director, clinical operations, patient flow and care transitions, in addition to a leadership role for COVID-19 recovery at the Richmond Emergency Operations Centre.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Hospital turns 60

“I’ve always had an operations portfolio as a director in patient flow and care transitions. So, really looking at the movement of patients through the system both into acute care through acute care and then back into the community,” explained the Queensborough resident, who also has a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management Leadership from Royal Roads University in Victoria.

For the past five years Dillon was also the clinical director on the acute care tower project for Richmond Hospital.

As this project was coming to a close Dillon started seeking out a new opportunity that would bring together his acute and community experience, and, he felt fortunate to be offered the position at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Dillon feels he brings a lot of energy to his work, as well as a different perspective.

“I’m definitely some one who loves the work they do. I’m always very much patient and family focused,” said Dillon, adding that his background in business adds to his skill set.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Hospital after 60 years

“We have to look at the health care system as, I hate to say a business, but certainly we have responsibilities to our communities and our tax payers…really ensuring we deliver the best care with the resources that we have and just really supporting the community,” noted Dillon.

Dillon also describes himself as an “out-of-the-box thinker” and “a little unconventional”, working more in the grey rather than in black and white.

“The health care system we know is so very challenging. It’s never very black and white. A lot of the individuals we serve don’t fit into any specific four walls,” he explained.

“And so we have to be creative, we have to be supportive and we have to create plans that work for the patient, that work for the family, and work within the system we have to work within,” Dillon said.

Dillon is committed to making sure everyone in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows has, “access to the care they need”.

He will be looking at mitigating emergency wait times at the hospital, ensuring that there is acute care beds within the hospital and improving access to surgeries.

He will also be focusing on improving care for the senior population, ensuring home support services and home care nurses are available to help live in their home environment rather than in long-term care.

“I’m a collaborative individual. I’m extremely transparent, I really pride myself on developing relationships with the community,” said Dillon, adding that the hospital and community are often like a family.

Dillon is a firm believer that that even if things are running well, there’s always an opportunity for them to be that much better.

“I want to ensure I build those relationships and bridges that if people need to reach out to me, they know that they can and I will support them however best I am possibly able to,” he said.

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