Minister Dix (bottom left) celebrates with local leaders and health professionals including members of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Osoyoos town council and Interior Health, at the completion of new emergency department renovations at South Okanagan General Hospital. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

The new emergency department at the South Okanagan General Hospital officially opened this morning, Jan. 17.

Added privacy will be one of the major improvements for patients. Separate entrances for emergency patients and private consultation rooms have both been added as part of the expansion.

B.C.’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, was on hand to usher in the new era for the hospital.

“I saw firsthand the need to upgrade the emergency department after touring the hospital in the fall of 2017 and am pleased that health-care workers can continue to provide exemplary care to local residents in the improved space that they deserve,” Dix said.

Osoyoos Indian Band chief Clarence Louie also spoke before the ceremonial ribbon was cut.

“We’re very lucky here at the Osoyoos Indian Band with this hospital, even though it’s on our old reserve property, that it’s only minutes away from our people. We’re all going to wind up in hospital one day. Our mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers are all going to wind up in this building one of these days. This hospital is very important for our people here at the Osoyoos Indian Band and all the communities,” said Louie.

The renovation project, which began in May 2019, includes developing a new waiting and triage area, a quiet room for families, a separate emergency department entrance, relocation of admitting and administration services, plus new exterior signage and improved way-finding.

The original cost of the project was $970,000, split 60-40 by the B.C. government and Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District, respectively. Progress was lifted by an additional $280,000 commitment from the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, which expanded the scope of the project to include a new nursing station and private area for doctors to consult with specialists.

Executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation Carey Bornn said contributing to the project was something his organization was happy to do.

“We’re very excited to see this project completed at the South Okanagan General Hospital. This type of bright, patient-friendly space enhances both the care of patients and working conditions for staff,” said Bornn.

Patients will be able to start using the new facilities early next week.

READ MORE: Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

READ MORE: Four arrested, weapons, suspected drugs seized by RCMP in Penticton


@philmclachlan
phil.mclachlan@pentictonwesternnews.com

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