LETTER – Level of care at Royal Inland Hospital is unacceptable

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

To the patients of the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap,

The Department of Surgery at RIH has been advocating, on your behalf, for many years to improve local access to surgical services. This has involved countless meetings, letters, and phone calls with administration. Our efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage patients to voice their concerns about wait-times with senior Interior Health administration, the Ministry of Health, local MLA’s, and community leaders.

The Royal Inland Hospital, in its current location, has been serving the residents of Kamloops and the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region for more than a century. Royal Inland Hospital is one of only two tertiary care centers in the Interior Health Authority which encompasses the entire southern interior of the province.

Over the past two decades we have seen the needs of the community grow in excess of hospital capacity. Royal Inland Hospital has continually run at capacity levels between 105-110%, and often significantly higher. Admission rates have exceeded bed availability on a daily basis even prior to thecovid-19 pandemic.

In spite of these challenges dedicated nurses, physicians, support staff and local administrators have strived to provide quality care in the form of world class medical and surgical programs. However, operational funding has not kept pace with demand. We have fallen behind and can no longer provide the services that the community expects and deserves.

The global pandemic and subsequent staffing shortages have exposed the chronic lack of resources our hospital receives. Lack of surgical access at Royal Inland Hospital is multifactorial relating to long term anesthesia shortages, lack of capacity in the operating room and recovery areas, and a chronic lack of surgical beds.

Our hospital is overwhelmed with medical patients that have no other option but to be in hospital related in part to the shortage of long term care beds in the community. To be clear, these are long standing issues predating the pandemic.

Surgical care within Interior Health is highly variable depending on where you live. Royal Inland Hospital has longer wait times than other surgical sites within the health authority and surgical patients often have to leave our community to receive care in a timely fashion. The surgical program at Royal Inland Hospital has been decimated. Surgical patients currently cannot receive the care they need in a timely fashion.

Surgeons are no longer able to provide adequate surgical care to their patients.

The residents of Kamloops and the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap need to hold senior Interior Health administration, the Ministry of Health, our MLA’s, and community leaders accountable.

Our health caresystem can be difficult to navigate. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with some contact information if you would like to voice your concerns. Please consider contacting our leaders to share your story.

We feel that the care you are receiving is unacceptable and hope that our hospital can be adequately supported to provide the level of services that our community deserves.


1. Interior Health Patient Care Quality Office:

2. Kamloops City Council

3. MLA Peter Milobar, Kamloops North Phone:250-554-5413

4. MLA Todd Stone, Kamloops South Thompson Email:

Phone: 250-374-2880

5. MLA Adrian Dix, Minister of Health

Phone: 250-953-3547

6. CBC Kamloops Email:

7. CFJC Today

Phone: 250-372-3322

8. Radio NL


Phone: 250-374-1610

About Mel Rothenburger (9641 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on LETTER – Level of care at Royal Inland Hospital is unacceptable

  1. The leaders of this B.C government run Healthcare Is shameless! They have fired thousands of highly trained nurses and staff for not getting a Vaccine that don’t even stop transmission. This Healthcare mess is 100% this seated government caused, long term care is in same boat they fired nurses and carestaff that were never anymore able to transmit covid then the vaxed staff. Thousands fired ! Time for mega change, time to hire back our heros that cared for the covid patients for almost 2yrs and countless years of service before getting fired over a power hungry corrupt gov. Violating the same rights nurses are trained to follow to all , (right to refuse medication )and( privacy of ones Healthcare information). Shame on this Healthcare system for destroying more health and more lives then the virus ever did . Remember politicians lie! When then mess up they cover up! But everyone can see the truth! and most are aware the news is government run already. Look at your community and listen to real people like neighbors not the t.v.

  2. 13 years ago I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. It was a nightmare. First of all after I found out via an ultrasound that my fetus’ heart was no longer beating, I was sent home to come back the next day because they had no space to do any surgery on me that day. The next day my husband and I went to the hospital ER as instructed to get the D&C performed so that I could heal physically and mentally. I was starving and thirsty. From 7 AM I waited for an OR room to get the procedure done. They had given me drugs to help along the process. We waited and waited. I was stuck in PAR because again there was no room for me. As PAR was completely empited for the evening, I passed the fetus by myself with no one around. You want to talk about PTSD…..I cannot explain how horrible this was. I had no family with me either as they had left for a break. Finally, I was moved to 3S which was the gyno/maternity ward back then BUT I was stuck in a hallway between the 2 wards. I got to listen to new borns crying while I had just witnessed a full loss of my own. I’ve never forgotten or gotten over this. I finally was able to have a D&C at midnight that day after waiting for over 17 hours. It was ridiculously stupid and traumatizing. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Not only do I avoid the hospital now but doctors altogether much to my own detriment because of the psychological trauma that I endured. This should never happen! Even still born mothers are put into the maternity ward here. It’s sickening to torture women like that!

  3. I have been waiting for surgery in Kamloops for about three years. Diagnosed with two hernias in May 2019 I finally got a surgery date for March 2020. Unfortunately I started showing signs of angina two weeks before my surgery date. To top that, Covid had just decided to pay Canada a visit and all elective surgeries were cancelled here so I wouldn’t have had it anyway.
    On the lucky side, Dr. Dodd got me a fast appointment at the heart clinic at RIH and they did a battery of tests that resulted in me going to Kelowna for angioplasty on
    May 7 2020 and I came home with two new stents in my heart. Hooray! ER Docs rock!

    Flip that coin again and by June 2020 I was diagnosed with osteo arthritis in one hip which has now progressed to both hips and my lower back. I am now told it will be at least two years before I can get a hip replacement. I will surely have to add a stair lift or elevator or move to a different house before then. Lack of sleep is aging me fast as I am restricted to Tylenol for pain relief as I can’t have any NSAID’s, oral or topical, because of the blood thinner I have been taking for two years.

    Royal Inland Hospital has longer wait times than other surgical sites within the health
    authority and surgical patients often have to leave our community to receive care in a timely fashion. The surgical program at Royal Inland Hospital has been decimated. Surgical patients currently cannot receive the care they need in a timely fashion.

    It is about time people started to demand some support and changes to the system.
    I am 69 now and feel like I am falling apart piece by piece. Aging faster than the medical system if that is possible.
    I am actually in need of three surgeries at this time. Maybe they can start a frequent flyer type of plan for us seniors and install revolving doors.

    The residents of Kamloops and the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap need to hold senior Interior Health administration, the Ministry of Health, our MLA’s, and community leaders accountable.
    Our provincial government spent $1.3 billion on fossil fuel subsidies between 2020 and 2021 (National Observer) but the citizens of BC can’t get badly needed surgeries. There is something woefully wrong with this picture.
    Spending big amounts on non-renewable resources that are harming the environment and contributing to global warming is surely akin to ‘beating a dead horse’.
    Meanwhile, I will keep trying to cry myself to sleep.

  4. Caring worker // March 20, 2022 at 11:57 AM // Reply

    When I started work at Royal Inland Hospital 40 years ago, it was a great place to work staff all knew what had to be done, and it was done well. The food was made in house and it was great laundry was done in house and a great job. Housekeeping was done with pride the nurses were doing a great job, and always complimented. We had fewer bosses and more patients than now a days. Today the hospital is all full of bosses and not enough workers it is hard on staff but it has turned into politics and all b.s. to see who can climb the pole the fastest. Bring back our great hospital and medical staff.

    • My parents also were in nursing 40 years ago. They never ever had the amount of patients at the acuity level seen these days. The frequently tell me that the patients that I take care of today would have all been in the ICU 20 years ago. We are working with 50% staff the vast majority of the time. Sometimes less. I’ve been at the hospital when the entire facility has been staffed at 46%. How are people not more concerned?!?

  5. I agree wholeheartedly to this letter. I have 2 friends who were scheduled for emergency surgery, 2 years ago and are still waiting. Both had been called within hours of their surgery dates and have had their proceedure cancelled. This is truly unacceptable. I, personally have been waiting for knee surgery for many months whereas in Kelowna a friend had hers 2 months after it was booked. Our surgeons are suffering as well. We stand to lose some incredibly talented people to other areas of the province or country. It is hard to pay bills when you can’t work. The stock answer from admin is that the new wing will alleviated this. Again this requires trained staff and a willingness to make it work properly. Nobody has much faith that this very expensive addition will help at all. They keep saying they are hiring new staff but more are leaving due to stress, retirement or just plain dissatisfaction with a very broken system.
    I think a complete audit of how RIH is run is called for, especially in the over balanced ratio of administration to patients. VGH did this many years ago and the results were amazing. Having had to go there for several tests in one day I can say it runs like a well oiled machine.

  6. Name withheld? That is truly unacceptable in my world despite all other questionable matters happening including inadequate health care.

    • Name Also Withheld // March 20, 2022 at 10:44 PM // Reply

      I’d assume he’s concerned for repercussions from RIH administration. Social media policies in healthcare are very restrictive for many good reasons, but they also serve to limit the safety of whistleblowers.

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