Ministry of Health
A high-tech Mobile Medical Unit that acts as a mini-hospital and will be used across the province to provide medical services for B.C. families was unveiled recently by Minister of Health Michael de Jong, in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
The Mobile Medical Unit is unique to Western Canada and is one of the major medical legacies from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. The Ministry of Health purchased the unit from VANOC after the Games for $5 million in order to improve emergency service delivery across the province.
The Mobile Medical Unit’s primary role includes emergency and/or post disaster response to any region in British Columbia. Additionally it is able to replace lost ambulatory or emergency room service capacity, such as in the case of an emergency department closure.
The unit can also be used at large public events in order to provide assurance to families that they have access to the best medical care, should something unforeseen happen while they are attending leisure activities. The first deployment of the unit began (Aug. 12-14) at the Abbotsford International Air Show in partnership with Fraser Health Authority, St. John Ambulance and the BC Ambulance Service.
The Mobile Medical Unit is very flexible with both its form and function. The configuration of the unit is dependent upon the needs of the situation. The unit has capability for providing support and patient care in a variety of situations, ranging from attending to minor ill and injured patients up to higher-level acuity of care, such as critical care and emergency surgical intervention.
Another important feature of the unit is its self-sustainability. It contains its own power, oxygen and waste systems. The unit can be connected to a hospital’s shore power, city water and waste systems, allowing medical staff to be self-sufficient for up to three days.
PHSA will maintain the unit and is working with emergency response planners, clinicians and other stakeholders from the health authorities to implement the operating plan for its use throughout the province. All health authorities will have equal participation in accessing and shaping the future use of this mobile medical facility.
Over the next several months the Mobile Medical Unit and staff will travel throughout B.C. to increase awareness and to educate and train local staff and physicians about its capability. As well, staff will work with each health region to build upon existing emergency contingency plans in order to integrate an operational unit when appropriate.