For the second time in two weeks, the hospital in Oliver is having to close its emergency department overnight.
The South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency department will be closed from 6 p.m. on Aug. 14 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 15, due to a lack of available doctors, according to Interior Health.
The hospital’s emergency department was shut down overnight on July 30, though the hospital has been dealing with repeated emergency department closures for years.
The previous closure came during the height of evacuations around the Eagle Bluff Wildfire near Osoyoos, a matter that drove condemnation from the BC United Party.
Leader of the party Kevin Falcon recently was in the South Okanagan, and during his time there he met with local BC United MLA Dan Ashton and the Mayor of Oliver Martin Johansen.
The meeting in Oliver specifically was on the topic of the repeat closures of the emergency department of SOGH due to staffing shortages.
“That’s particularly troublesome in the summer when we have all the tourists coming up and that’s when you want to have an emergency department available,” Falcon told the Western News on Aug. 11. “Kids or family members might be injured, or break a bone or what have you.”
Other services at the hospital remain open.
People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility. The nearest emergency is at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
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