The South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver will continue to offer emergency department service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As of March 29, a physician will be called in to the hospital’s emergency department during the night, from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., to respond to emergencies, but will not be on location throughout the night shift.
Patients will still be able to access the emergency room and a nurse will be present to assist with calls and emergency room needs.
For true emergencies and patients under 17 years of age, the nurse will call the physicians.
Patients with time-sensitive but less serious conditions will have arrangements made to go to the Penticton Regional Hospital emergency department, by ambulance or by private vehicle.
Those whose condition can wait until the next day can remain in the waiting room, return in the morning or schedule an appointment with their family physician.
Those who are not sure of their needs may dial 811 to speak to a registered nurse.
During the daytime hours, a pysician will be on location at the emergency department for all patient visits.
Oliver mayor Martin Johansen is pleased with the emergency room changes.
“I’m positive that we’re orking in the right direction,” he said.
The changes mean Oliver and Osoyoos residents will have access to emergency room service where they live.
“If you’re living in the area and you’ve got something serious going on, you’ll be able to get emergency service,” he said.
He added that the emergency room coverage is the result of discussions between municipal council and Interior Health, in order to meet the needs of the region.
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