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Island Health to take over and expand two private clinics for day surgeries

Island Health says it will deliver 5,000 more day surgeries each year after it acquires two private surgical centres for $11.5 million.
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Island Health is acquiring the View Royal Surgical Centre. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Island Health says it will deliver 5,000 more day surgeries each year after it acquires two private surgical centres for $11.5 million.

The health authority will absorb View Royal Surgical Centre in Victoria and Seafield Surgical Centre in Nanaimo allowing it to increase capacity and reduce wait times. It expects to perform 2,300 more surgeries and 2,300 more endoscopies, including colonoscopies, each year as a result.

It has yet to finalize the agreement but a deal is in place to assume the leases and buy the assets from two private surgical centres owned by Surgical Centres Inc.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the provincial government is committed to delivering surgical care for British Columbians when they need it: “Bringing these centres on as Island Health facilities will help all of us achieve this goal.”

Once up and running at full capacity, the two clinics should be able to offer about 14,200 day surgical procedures per year — about 5,000 more than they currently deliver. Island Health says the gains will come through greater use of unused and underutilized capacity.

The health authority had previously partnered with Surgical Centres Inc. in Nanaimo in 2004 and at View Royal in 2017 to essentially expand the operating rooms of Island Health’s hospitals. It was contracting two operating rooms and two endoscopy suites in View Royal centre, which delivers 2,500 day care surgeries and 4,000 outpatient procedures a year.

Island Health board chairperson Leah Hollins called Surgical Centres Inc. a valued partner in helping the health authority deliver surgical care, but said acquiring the centres means being able to expand surgical capacity “in a way that was not previously possible.”

The facilities currently perform certain low-complexity day-care surgical procedures. Island Health hopes to expand on the type of surgical services that will be provided, but it is not clear what that might include.

The transition is expected to start in the summer and services are expected to expand gradually, said Island Health.

In May 2020, the province made a commitment to catch up on surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19 and significantly increase the number of surgeries performed above pre-pandemic levels.

The Health Ministry said it continues to work with health authorities to fulfil that commitment to patients.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com