05/14/2015 09:00 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT

Delta Hospital petition calls for $2M for overnight emergency surgery

The Friends of Delta Hospital campaign group delivered a petition signed by 10,000 people to the B.C. government Thursday demanding the province provide $2 million in funding to open up an overnight operating rooms and surgical beds.

The hospital does have operating rooms, but they are only open for emergency surgeries Monday to Friday until they close at three o'clock — and there are no surgical beds and care to help patients recover afterwards.

Dr. Robert Shaw, president of the Delta Hospital Medical Staff Association, says if a patient shows up after hours, they have to go to Richmond Hospital or Surrey Memorial. 

"With a small investment, we would be able to have four surgical beds, and around-the-clock surgical nursing to look after our surgical patients," said Shaw.

Nicholas Wong, spokesperson for Friends of Delta Hospital, agrees.

"That would allow the doctors at Delta Hospital to perform a much wider array of lifesaving services and hopefully add some hours to our emergency surgical program."

'A little bit deficient'

Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South, said her community wants to make a difference.

"That's why we present these [petitions] — to make the point to the minister and the government that there is a whole community out there that wants to see equitable services," she said.

At a public forum earlier this year, North Delta MLA Scott Hamilton pointed out the hospital was nearly shut down in 2002, but the community rallied to save it.

"It has become a jewel, and it might be a little bit deficient right now," Hamilton said.

"I think we need to properly define what it is, where we're trying to go. I think it's easy to suggest we want it all back, but we need to have discussions. We need to have proper dialogue with the right people."

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake has agreed to meet with the association next week.

"To my knowledge, only about, on average, three surgeries a week have to be done outside that program. We have a regional system. We have to put resources where they will help the most people," said Lake.