Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid took a tour of Princeton General Hospital last Thursday. She was extended an invitation from Mayor and Council of the Town of Princeton as well as members of the Stakeholders group during their visit with her at UBCM.
During her visit, Minister MacDiarmid met with members of the Stakeholders group, Mayor Frank Armitage, local doctors and representatives from Interior Health for a meeting to discuss the hospital situation.
During a telephone interview with the Spotlight, Minister MacDiarmid said that there is a tremendous amount of work already being done towards resolving the issues facing rural B.C. hospitals. “There are initiatives in place already,” she said.
The new regulations for nurse practitioners allowing them to admit and discharge patients from hospitals is the latest initiative that the ministry believes will assist rural and remote areas of B.C.
Minister MacDiarmid is impressed with how members of the community have “stepped up” to help. Although she would have loved to give a date for Princeton Emergency Room opening 24/7, “it is difficult to give a time frame when we still have the issues of doctor and nurse availability,” she said.
Member of the Stakeholders group and president of Save Our Similkameen, Solana Allison said she was pleased that the minister took the time to come and hear first-hand the concerns of industry, municipality, RDOS and the stakeholders. “It was a positive meeting,” she said, “we look forward to executing ideas and moving forward.”
Allison also said that she was very pleased with Princeton’s doctors. “We are grateful for the care they have shown the community. Thank you to them for taking time to speak with the minister to explain challenges and solutions as they see them.”
Mayor Frank Armitage said that Minister MacDiarmid is “very knowledgeable as she has first-hand experience,” and he “believes that she understands.”
Minister MacDiarmid has been a family physician for 23 years and served on the BC Medical Association board for 12 years.
Mayor Armitage said that he “admires the whole Stakeholders group.” They have been working on this for seven months—it is appreciated.”