Message from Michael Marchbank

Hello colleagues,

Today is officially my first day as President and CEO of Fraser Health, and I’m glad to be here with you.

I have heard many good things about the work that all of you do here, and the commitment you have to providing quality care to our patients, clients and residents. That is our priority, and I am pleased to start a new year in step with that focus you already have.

Many of you will be aware I have been involved in health care in BC for a long time. I am familiar with the challenges in the health system, and know we will need to continue to work through those. But the system is full of knowledgeable, caring and committed people, and I am anticipating working together with you to find opportunities to make us even better together.  

There is a lot of work for me to do as I get to know the organization. I am planning to visit our sites regularly and hope to meet many of you soon.

And I know there are a lot of people waiting to know more about my vision for Fraser Health. I have a lot of respect for the work you do here every day. My vision for us right now is very simply to make sure that our decisions are based on improving health outcomes and providing better experiences for the people we care for. A lot of this will build on work currently underway in support of the Strategic and Operational Plan as well as the Ministry of Health’s Strategic Plan.

I hope to be in touch with you regularly and, in order to do so, I have posted this message on a blog at http://fhpulse/sites/FromTheHeart/default.aspx I intend to keep up-to-date. I welcome your comments.

Michael Marchbank 

President and Chief Executive Officer
Fraser Health

Suite 400, Central City Tower
13450 102nd Avenue
Surrey, BC  V3T 0H1
phone: 604-587-4625


Tis the season for potlucks and parties. However, dipping into that communal dish of chips or candies could put you at risk of Norovirus, a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu. This is not influenza or the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. Every winter in BC there are outbreaks in schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Last year across Fraser Health acute sites there were 32 declared Gastrointestinal Illness outbreaks, causing illness in both patients and employees. Across BC we have seen a number of gastrointestinal outbreaks in other health authorities being declared in the past couple of weeks.

Symptoms of Norovirus include vomiting, chills, fever and diarrhea within a day or two of being exposed. The virus can be spread on surfaces such as countertops, sinks and taps and can survive a long time on such surfaces if not properly cleaned. When someone with Norovirus vomits, people nearby may be infected by swallowing tiny droplets from the air.

 The key to preventing the virus or reducing its spread is good hand washing, especially after using the toilet, changing diapers or before eating or preparing food. Proper hand washing requires warm, running water, soap and cleansing of the hands for at least 30 seconds. At this time of year, there is much sharing of food so be mindful of how this food is being dished out and avoid any foods where others may have “dipped” in. Try to choose items that are individually wrapped when possible. It’s also a good idea to discourage sharing of food in the workplace, especially those boxes of chocolates that appear at this time of year.

 Several years ago, the WorksafeBC  Act was changed to allow employees who develop Norovirus symptoms while working on an outbreak unit to submit a claim. When an outbreak is declared, a Workplace Health Call Centre Occupational Health Nurse will contact the manager of the affected unit to provide direction for employees who are symptomatic. Employees are directed to remain off work for 48 hours after their symptoms stop, as the virus can be still shed for many days after the person starts to feel better. Workplace Health is also notified if there are increased calls from EARL from departments where employees have identified an increase in Gastrointestinal symptoms. Workplace Health will then notify the local Infection Control Practitioner to see if steps are required to prevent further spread to patients.

 I have enclosed the BCCDC Health Link File on Norovirus with information on what you can do to prevent the spread of this disease at home if it should hit you or your family .Remember, if you do experience symptoms, please stay home for 48 hours after the symptoms resolve.

Cathryn Smith, Program Leader, Provincial Workplace Health Call Centre

Winner of the SMH Gift Shop Survey Contest




The Surrey Memorial Hospital Auxiliary would like to thank all those who took the time to fill out our Gift Shop Survey.  It was of great benefit to have valuable feedback from the staff as to items they would like to see available in our Gift Shop.

We stock many of the items suggested and the items that we do not carry, are under consideration.

We are now stocking our shelves for Christmas, so please take a few minutes to visit us and see what is available.  We are very excited with what we have to offer you.

Thank you for your support!  It enables us to provide some necessary patient comfort funding for various departments and services within our hospital and campus.

Fraser Health CEO Message – Farewell

Dear Colleagues:

In June of this year I stepped out of my recent semi-retirement from CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health to support Fraser Health’s transition as interim Chief Executive Officer. My time as your interim CEO ends October 31.

It was an unexpected request that I join Fraser Health and I’m glad I accepted. My time here has given me an opportunity to meet some very dedicated health care leaders and staff. I have spent much time reflecting on the very real challenges of supporting better health outcomes for our populations while managing the business of a health authority.

The issues of capacity and congestion and managing within a budget that never seems to stretch as far as we wish are not unique to Fraser Health. To some degree or another, the challenges facing Fraser Health are ones with which all health authorities struggle. But some of that which makes Fraser Health unique in these struggles are also the things that are going to propel you towards new solutions. Fraser Health is known for its rapid growth and diversity. It is also known for tenacity – despite very challenging situations, the people here are loyal and committed. The care here is good. And the will to make things even better is apparent.

My time with you took place on the coattails of a lot of previous work that was started before I was ever asked to join you. You have recognized that quality is integral to your culture. I believe your new CEO will have the pleasure of seeing that the recommendations from the strategic review and the plans from the three-year strategic and operational plan will be well underway. There have been improvements on key performance indicators that we can track back over the last year. These are your successes and you should feel very proud of them.

Change takes time and intention. And intention requires a vision. I can tell you that, sitting with your Executive team, I have seen myself that the vision is becoming clearer. Plans are being created and implemented. Change is sure to follow.

As I prepare to say goodbye and wish you all well, I want to also encourage you all to see your own piece of this vision – the successful future of Fraser Health. Remarkable things happen when people can see their own contributions as part of the success of the whole. You all have a part to play in the success of Fraser Health. What you do does matter – every day.

Use the strength of your commitment and dedication to your patients to continue the improvement journey. Use the spirit of innovation to support the unique challenges of your patient populations and diverse communities.

Continue to ask questions and to push yourselves to find even better ways to do things and to improve even more. I see  great innovation all across this health authority. Very impressive ideas, solutions and people are here now. Incredible improvements are happening. Now wonder what would happen if we pushed the margins even more: if we kept seeing opportunity in each problem, if we kept wondering how else we could improve the experience for our patients. And then we just made it happen.

I wish you all the best, Fraser Health.

(Read Dr. Ostrow’s advice for Fraser Health here http://fhpulse/about_us/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2385)

David N. Ostrow, MD FRCPC
President and Chief Executive Officer (Interim)
Fraser Health