IH backing down on ultrasound issue
The following press release was just issued by Interior Health:
In light of recent meetings with the Castlegar physician group, Interior Health has suspended the move of the Castlegar ultrasound machine in order to allow time for additional discussions with physicians, technologists and other stakeholders; and explore other options to maintain a quality and sustainable regional service for all patients in the Kootenay Boundary.
In the interim, ultrasound service will continue to be provided at the Castlegar Health Center provided a technologist is available.
“Our priority here has not changed – it is to provide all residents of the Kootenay Boundary with access to the best possible ultrasound service we can with our limited technologists and available equipment,” said Thalia Vesterback, diagnostic imaging director for the Kootenays.
The priorities in looking at Kootenay Boundary regional ultrasound service are:
increasing overall capacity and moving towards the seven-day, on-call services available in other regions;
sustaining a safe, quality service given available staffing and equipment.
- increasing the number of complex scans performed (ie. shoulders).
- broadening the range of complex scans being done (ie. patients who need prostate exams currently have to travel to Cranbrook or Kelowna)
“The fact remains we are facing challenges with staffing ultrasound technologist positions in the Kootenay Boundary and we are not providing all the regional services available in other areas. If our clinicians or community partners have ideas that allow us to enhance what we have given those challenges, we are certainly open to exploring them.” “In retrospect, we could have done a better job engaging the Castlegar physician group earlier in the process and had some additional discussions with stakeholders prior to announcing this decision,” Vesterback said. IH will keep stakeholders informed about any decisions moving forward. The current Castlegar ultrasound was purchased in 2008 through Ministry of Health and West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District to replace a 1998 machine purchased by the Castlegar and District Hospital Foundation. The machine in Castlegar is used for scheduled, non-urgent scans on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.