South Okanagan General Hospital emergency department to close for 14 hours this weekend

The emergency room at South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver is expected to be closed for 14 hours this weekend. Global News

Interior Health (IH) announced Thursday that the emergency department at South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver will be closed for 14 hours from Friday evening to Saturday morning.

The health authority is blaming the closure on “limited physician availability.”

The mayor of Oliver said he is not happy to hear about the closure.

“We’ve met with the doctors. We’ve met with IH. I know our MLA is working on this as well as we speak. I know they are working for a workable solution. They were very apologetic but they just have nobody to cover for tomorrow night. There is really not much that we can do about it other than hope that things go well,” said Ron Hovanes.

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“We continually stress that for our coverage area, where we have 18,000 plus citizens between Oliver and Osoyoos and the rural areas it is critical that our emergency department stay open. That’s the strong message we continue to give.”

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During the closure from 6:00 p.m. Friday to 8:00 a.m. Saturday, those who would normally go to the South Okanagan General Hospital emergency department are being told to access emergency services at the Penticton Regional Hospital instead.

This isn’t the first time Oliver has faced an emergency department closure. The health authority thought it would have to shut down the department for two periods in early June.

However, those closures were avoided at the last minute when doctors were found to cover those shifts.

The health authority has said it is “committed on having a long-term solution to this issued around physician and emergency room physician coverage.”

– with files from Shelby Thom

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