Emergency Department RN Jenny Veenstra-Rodway and Houston Site Coordinator Sally Sullivan

Emergency Department RN Jenny Veenstra-Rodway and Houston Site Coordinator Sally Sullivan

Equipment upgrades at Houston Health Centre

The Houston Health Centre is getting two new pieces of equipment in June to update and replace current machines.

The Houston Health Centre is getting two new pieces of equipment in June to update and replace current machines.

Sally Sullivan, site manager for the Houston Health Centre, says Northern Health approved funding for a new Chemistry Analyzer, about $15,000, and a new Electrocardiography (ECG) machine, about $12,000.

Both machines need replacing because they are “getting close to the end of their life,” said Sullivan.

“There’s a complex and thorough process in terms of capital equipment selections for health services,” said Cormac Hikisch, health service administrator for the east cluster of Northern Health.

Hikisch says he and the leadership team look at the minor capital needs (equipment and renovations between $5,000 and $10,000) for the northwest and make decisions about what to fund.

Then they tell the Northwest Regional Hospital District because 40 per cent of the funds come from the Hospital District through property taxes, and 60 per cent comes directly through the Ministry of Health through capital allocation, he said.

“There is never enough funds within the Regional Hospital District or Ministry Capital Funds,” Hikisch said.

He says the needs of the east cluster (Houston, Smithers, Hazelton and Dease Lake) pooled together are about three to four times more than what they are allocated.

“This year our minor capital needs totalled $1.2 million, and we only ever get $200,000 to $300,000,” he said.

Hikisch says he then talks to the managers, prioritizes their needs, and notifies health centre partners and donor groups, like the Houston Hospice Society, and tells them the priority needs.

“Each year it’s a juggle,” said Hikisch.

But Sullivan says the northwest health services are really good at pooling used equipment to make up for what they cannot replace new.

She says they were fortunate last April to get equipment from the old hospital in Fort St. John, including two stretchers, a large blanket warmer, two commode chairs and two large laundry carts.

Health centres and hospitals across the region got a list from Northern Health of the equipment available from Fort St. John, and Houston, Smithers and Hazelton all took advantage of the opportunity, choosing equipment they could use to upgrade their facilities.

“We’ve done really well the last year,” said Sullivan.

“We’ve replaced and upgraded a lot of equipment.”