PENTICTON — Interior Health has called in some backup in Penticton for the busiest long weekend of the year, made even busier this year by thousands of concert goers in town for the Boonstock festival.
Equipped to handle everything from minor first aid to critical care, the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) will be parked outside the emergency room at the Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) all weekend. The MMU tours around the province providing medical help at large scale events, acting as extra space for hospitals and medical facilities under construction and even serving as a training facility. It’s paid for by the six regional health authorities annually and in turn, is deployed to each region to assist where it’s needed. For Interior Health the biggest need was Boonstock weekend in Penticton.
This is the first time the MMU has been deployed for a concert.
“This is of course the first time Boonstock has been in town so it’s an unknown and that’s really what the big concern was,” says Peter Hennecke, the clinical operations director of the Mobile Medical Unit.
Along with bringing in the MMU, hospital staff say they’ve been planning for this weekend for the past three months.
“We’ve upped staff in all our critical departments,” says emergency room manager, Anne Morgenstern, “we have extra staff for support services and particularly in the ER.”
PRH officials say they are also prepared to up staffing levels by upwards of 50 per cent, should the need arise. While it’s impossible to predict what will come from the busy weekend, “we feel confident we’ve prepared ourselves,” says acute health service director, Maureen Thomson. Everyone in the MMU says they are prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.