Interior Health diverting patients from hospital ERs in Ashcroft, Clearwater

The emergency department at the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater, B.C. will be closed until 7 p.m. on Mon. July 11, 2022. Twitter/Interior Health

People with urgent medical needs in the communities of Ashcroft and Clearwater will need to travel to Kamloops this weekend if they need an emergency room doctor.

Interior Health issued diversion notices Friday afternoon.

Ashcroft’s emergency department is diverting patients on Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to “limited physician availability,” the health authority said.

The emergency department at Clearwater’s Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital is diverting patients from 6 p.m. on Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday morning “due to limited staffing availability.”

Click to play video: 'Staffing shortages force more hospital diversions and service reductions on Vancouver Island'
Staffing shortages force more hospital diversions and service reductions on Vancouver Island

In both communities, residents facing an emergency should call 911, Interior Health said. If they need to visit an emergency department, they should travel to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

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The diversions are the latest in a string of temporary closures and diversions at smaller and rural hospitals across British Columbia due to staffing issues.

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Clearwater has seen emergency room closures five times this month alone, including on Monday and Wednesday this week.

The community’s mayor says it has seen about two dozen ER closures since the start of 2021.

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