Victoria doctor calls for support to develop Island Pediatric Care Centre

Victoria doctor calls for support to develop Island Pediatric Care Centre
A Victoria doctor is calling for an Island Pediatric Care Unit to be established at the Victoria General Hospital.

Many pediatric units across the country are at or over capacity with patients, especially kids, facing a triple threat of illnesses – COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We’re facing a very significant amount of respiratory illness in emergency rooms across the province. And of particular, in children,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health.

With BC Children’s Hospital among the busiest, a Victoria doctor is drawing attention to the pediatric unit at Victoria General Hospital and the work being done there.

READ MORE: ‘Pretty upsetting’: Six-month-old Colwood baby’s heart surgery cancelled last minute

Dr. Jennifer Balfour is a pediatrician, who wrote a commentary for the Times Colonist newspaper calling for the creation of an Island Pediatric Care Centre.

“I think it’s an interesting request. We deliver pediatric services around the province. And obviously, BC Children’s plays an important role centrally. But we deliver it around the province. I’m very proud of our pediatric teams right now,” Dix said.

The neo-natal ICU treats more than 16 percent of the 3,000 babies born annually at Victoria General.

“We provide world-class care here. And the team here, and the equipment we have here is top-notch,” said Dr. Jeff Bishop, section head of the pediatric intensive care unit at Victoria General Hospital.

It’s one of the only hospitals in B.C. with a pediatrician on-site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

READ MORE: ‘We almost lost him’: Nanaimo mom shares cautionary tale after infant contracts RSV

But it could use an update.

“Our hospital was built in the 1980s. Our administrators and foundation have worked very hard to keep it up to date. But yes, we’d love to see a face-lift,” Bishop said.

The pediatric intensive care unit at Victoria General is expected to experience a significant increase in patients over the next decade as the Island’s population is forecast to grow by 10 per cent.

And the high level care isn’t just for Island kids.

“We’ve been really working hard with our colleagues at BC Children’s to make sure the kids around the province are getting care where they need to be. So we’ve been admitting kids from Northern Health, from Interior Health, for a long time,” Bishop said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!