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Oliver hospital closes emergency department for 4th time in 6 days

People are directed to Penticton’s Regional Hospital instead for emergency care
South Okanagan General Hospital

Less than 24 hours after its last closure, the South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency department will be closed again.

Emergency services will be unavailable on Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Interior Health says.

IH has stated in a press release that a lack of available physicians is behind the closure.

The most recent closure lasted from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28.

The emergency department was also closed overnight from Nov. 24 to the morning on Nov. 25, and from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 23.

Patients can access care at Penticton Regional Hospital during this time.

All other inpatient services will continue as normal at South Okanagan General Hospital.

The Oliver emergency room has been plagued with closures. In October, Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen was optimistic that a new funding model to compensate doctors would help bring a near end to or at least lessen the constant emergency department closures at South Okanagan General Hospital.

“This is a positive step in the right direction with giving physicians a flat rate instead of fee for service,” said Johansen at the time. “Younger doctors seem to like this model. It’s not a silver bullet but I think it will bring stabilization.”

One of the big problems is emergency physicians from Penticton or Kelowna hospital were actually paid less when they worked in Oliver, Johansen said.

The provincial government announced that they are offering a flat rate compensation and committed $7.5 million in permanent funding to help stabilize physician emergency-room coverage in hospitals in Merritt, Oliver and Salmon Arm.

READ MORE: Province helps out ER staffing shortages

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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