News Views: Just a snapshot

It's complicated, to explain low rankings of Fraser Health hospitals

Three of the four lowest rated hospitals in Canada are in the Fraser Health region, including the one in Maple Ridge.

Vancouver General Hospital – including UBC – Burnaby Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital and Ridge Meadows Hospital all received a ‘D’ grade.

The rankings were done by CBC, based on data collected from hospitals by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, a publicly funded, non-profit organization.

A range of facilities in small towns and urban centres from across the country achieved an overall A-plus grade, and hospitals in Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan are represented in the Top 10.

The study used five of 21 clinical performance indicators, such as re-admission rates, rates of patients who died after major surgery, and unexpected complications tied to low nursing levels, such as bed sores or urinary tract infections.

The majority of hospitals – 240 in total – received B grades. Twenty hospitals received an A rating, while 34 received a C.

Only eight facilities had the lowest grade of D.

That doesn’t mean residents shouldn’t go to Ridge Meadows Hospital, though.

As pointed out by Fraser Health, if you look beyond the five indicators used in the report, the data shows the region’s hospitals are some of the best in the province and nationally in other areas.

Ridge Meadows Hospital, for example, had the third best rate in the Canada, for medium-sized communities, for 30-day hospital mortality following serious heart attacks.

It doesn’t help that the hospital declined to complete a survey asking questions about initiatives to improve care and safety.

Hundreds of hospitals couldn’t even be rated because the necessary data wasn’t publicly available.

The report cards are only meant to bring more transparency and accountability to Canada’s health care system.

No doubt there is room for improvement, and Fraser Health is already working towards making more information on infection control, hand hygiene rates and wait times available online.

The rankings are not an accurate reflection of the work done at our hospitals, although the B.C. Nurses’ Union was not surprised by the low ratings.

The reasons, just like health care today, are complex – too much so for a snapshot to capture.

– The News