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Doctor shortage closes Oliver hospital’s emergency room

Local ER department has been plagued with closures for several months
The Oliver hospital’s emergency department has been plagued with closures over the last several months. (File photo)

For the fifth time this year, Interior Health (IH) says Oliver hospital’s emergency room will temporarily close because of a doctor shortage.

The South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency department is set for a shutdown from 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, until 5 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Patients can access care at the Penticton Regional Hospital during this time, IH said.

The Oliver hospital’s emergency room was plagued with closures in late 2023, including eight interruptions from Nov. 23 to Dec. 10. This weekend’s overnight closure will mark its fifth in 2024, with the most recent shutdown coming on Jan. 27.

Such interruptions come after Martin Johansen, the town’s mayor, called the situation “unacceptable” and following the province’s $7.5 million commitment to help stabilize physician emergency-room coverage in hospitals in Merritt, Oliver and Salmon Arm. That provincial pledge was made in October 2023.

READ MORE: Merritt wants a refund for multiple hospital ER closures in 2023

All other hospital services will continue as normal at Oliver’s hospital on Friday night.

People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care should call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility, IH said.

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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