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C-section rates still high at Victoria hospitals

Apr 05 2012

More moms in Victoria continue to go under the knife to have babies by Caesarean sections than the Canadian average, according to a new report.

At Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals, the C-section rate - which excludes moms who likely require C-sections because they are having multiple babies or their infant is preterm - has fallen to 28.5 per 100 live births from a high of 30 in 2007-08, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

But there were slightly more C-sections in 2010-11 than in the previous year, which hit a low of 27.86, according to the report. The Canadian average is 26.94 per 100 live births.

"Overall, the results for the Vancouver Island Health Authority are quite positive and while there are some areas that we need to target for deeper review, there are other indicators that are trending very well - for example, our C-section rate is trending down while the rest of the province is trending up," said VIHA spokeswoman Shannon Marshall.

All the comparative data are outlined in a new website tool - the first of its kind in Canada - produced by the Canadian Institute of Health Information and released Wednesday. It covers more than 600 acute-care hospitals across the country and four years' worth of data.

The website gives patients across the country an online tool to help them determine which hospitals have better track records for treatment after major surgery, heart attack or stroke, or have a higher number of C-sections, for example.

Although the results show that hospitals nationwide are reporting fewer deaths after major surgery, heart attack and stroke than in 2007, and fewer readmissions, their performance varies widely.

For example, among large community hospitals - which include Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals as a single facility for this report - mortality rates within five days of major surgery ranged from 2.2 per 1,000 at Winnipeg's Concordia Hospital to 16.5 per 1,000 at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George - an almost eight-fold difference.

By comparison, the Victoria hospitals' five-day mortality rate after major surgery comes in about the middle at 6.46 per 1,000 in 2010-11 and 8.45 in 2009-10.

Kira Leeb, a CIHI director of health system performance, said the report includes 95 per cent of all hospitals in Canada - including the country's small hospitals, which make up 60 per cent of hospitals in Canada.

Such data weren't available and couldn't be collated and analyzed a decade ago, she noted.

Overall, no one hospital performed consistently above average on all measures of patient care.

www.cihi.ca

ceharnett@timescolonist.com