March 25, 2013 - 2:52 PM
By Jennifer Stahn
UPDATE: MARCH 26 9:50 A.M.
Interior Health announced this morning that it has been able to avoid the closure of Chase Health Centre emergency services today, Tuesday, March 26. The centre will be still be closed for the Easter holidays this weekend Friday through Monday.
MARCH 25 2:52 P.M.
While Interior Health was able to avoid closure of the emergency department at Chase Health Centre today it is still expected that tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26, a lack of doctors will close emergency services for the day.
Normally operating Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the emergency department is the only service at Chase Health Centre affected by the lack of physician coverage. The closure comes on the heels of a funding announcement by the province that will see incentives for doctors willing to take a rural post at one of 17 locations and the closest centre qualified for the incentive program is Clearwater.
The provincial election candidates for the area recently spoke about healthcare in Kamloops and the need to address the growing problem of doctor shortages and overcrowding at Royal Inland Hospital. While all agreed the problem definitely needs to be addressed, Kamloops-South Thompson NDP candidate Tom Friedman has been one of the more vocal candidates on this particular issue.
Friedman is worried that Chase is just an example of an even deeper problem and was set to hold an open house in Chase this afternoon to talk to residents about their concerns.
“The situation in Chase is a worrying example. A community needs to know that its emergency service needs are being appropriately covered,” he said, adding the 45-minute ambulance ride to Kamloops is “just not acceptable.”
Emergency room doctors in Kamloops recently joined a lobbying effort on BCEmergencyCare.com where doctors share their stories of overcrowding and doctor shortages across the province. Medical staff at RIH also created an advocacy group with the hopes of getting the government to recognize just how serious the issues in the area are.
Interior Health is still trying to obtain proper coverage to avoid closure of the emergency department on Tuesday, though as of Monday afternoon the closure was still set to take place. While the emergency department is closed residents should call 9-1-1 in the case of any emergency and for non-urgent matters should proceed to Kamloops or Salmon Arm clinics or emergency rooms.
The Health Centre and Emergency Department will both be closed in Chase on Good Friday, March 29, and Easter Monday, April 1.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013