Interior’s biggest hospital also one of the best in Canada - InfoNews

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Interior’s biggest hospital also one of the best in Canada

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April 10, 2019 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA - Being ranked the 23rd best hospital in Canada may not sound like something to brag about, but when put into the perspective that there are more than 1,400 hospitals in Canada, Kelowna General Hospital’s health services administrator Andrew Hughes is quite thrilled.

“The results are exciting,” he told “We’re pleased to be ranked where we are. When we’re doing a cross comparison with peer hospitals, it’s good to know we’re one of the best in the business."

Hughes was responding to a Newsweek magazine ranking of the top hospitals in the world. Since scoring criteria was different in the 11 countries studied, Newsweek only ranked the 10 best in the world. Toronto General was the only Canadian hospital in the top ten, coming in at number seven.

The magazine also looked at 100 of the more than 1,400 Canadian hospitals and listed the top 85. KGH finished 23rd. Eleven B.C. hospitals made the ranking, with three finishing ahead of Kelowna. Royal Jubilee in Victoria was eighth, Vancouver General ninth and Victoria General came in 12th.

“I look at some of the people we’re getting compared to and I agree, we are a top hospital within Canada,” Hughes said. “We have a fantastic, top notch staff. They’re some of the best in the business when it comes to physicians, both clinical and providing excellent patient care.”

And that staff is continually growing, with 141 physicians added in the last 18 months alone.

“These are some of the best in the world and can go anywhere,” Hughes said. “The reality that they’re choosing to come here is a dramatic statement in itself.”

The growth in the number of doctors is due, in large part, to more than $700 million in expansion in the past five years. It brings the physician population to about 550, plus about 200 locums. In all, there are about 4,000 people working at KGH, likely making it the largest employer in Kelowna.

It sees 368,000 patients a year and services 22 hospitals in the Interior Health region.

Over the past five years, two towers have been built, older buildings have been renovated and 15 operating rooms have been added.

Construction methods have left room for further growth, including space for the first PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner for cancer diagnosis outside the Lower Mainland. It's planned for next year.

Hughes doesn’t expect the pace of growth to be as dramatic in the next few years, but it will continue as population continues to grow.

He said KGH “ebbs and flows” between the third and fourth busiest hospital in B.C., behind Vancouver General and Surrey Memorial, which each have more than 600 beds. Kelowna has 429 beds, even though the Newsweek rankings show 711.

Despite the growth, bed occupancy was actually down three per cent last year as more people can get care in their homes or other facilities and new procedures allow patients to be discharged sooner after surgery. New hip surgery procedures may allow patients to go home (with proper supports) the next day instead of being in hospital for three or four days.

The hospitals in Newsweek’s list were chosen to be in the study based on recommendations from doctors, patient surveys and medical “key performance indicators.” KGH uses some of the same criteria as the Newsweek study to monitor its performance on an ongoing basis.

“We track that ourselves and we make changes and constantly try to improve,” Hughes said. “So, it doesn’t surprise me that we’re doing well.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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