MLA Harry Lali meets with Princeton protesters

Lali told protesters outside Princeton Hospital that doctors aren't coming to town because they can't practice what they learned in school.

Protesters gathered outside Princeton Hospital to voice their anger about scheduled emergency department closures.

Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali told a loud group of protesters outside Princeton Hospital that doctors aren’t coming to town because they can’t practice what they learned in school.

“Doctors and health care professionals are under utilized in small communities because the government strategically pulled out services and put them in other areas,” he said.

Doctors want to practice what they learned in medical school, including performing surgeries and delivering babies – practices Princeton Hospital no longer does, he said.

More than 150 people gathered outside the hospital at 11:30 a.m. today, holding signs saying “Save Our Hospital: Accidents Happen,” “Beware of Falling Standards,” and “We All Need 24/7 ER.”

Princeton Hospital emergency department will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday, said Interior Health Authority at the beginning of April.

Many residents thought the hospital would be restored in a year, but Princeton Hospital administrator Susan Brown said it will now take a least a year for changes to happen.

Interior Health is trying to attract a new doctor to Princeton, a job the authority admits is extremely difficult.

Rural towns are experiencing health care shortages because of the amount of time new doctors are willing to work, said Interior Health president Robert Halpenny.

“There are a lot more physicians now not willing to work 24/7. A lot of women have children and work two to three days a week, and not on weekends. It’s a coverage issue,” he said.

But Lali said health care problems are caused by lack of money, not by how much doctors are willing to work.

“You’re going to hear this from IHA and from the government: it’s not about the money, it’s about the doctors. I tell them to their faces that this is a lie. It is about the resources and the money.”

IHA is set up as a business model, so when money runs out health care is negatively affected, he said.

Industry meeting

Princeton business owners and managers had a closed-door meeting this morning to discuss how the scheduled emergency department closures will affect them.

The meeting was closed to media, but Weyerhaeuser manager Jeff Larsen told the Spotlight the emergency department should be running 24/7 because of industry in Princeton.

“We’re really concerned. We try our hardest to make sure there are no injuries, but it’s still a high risk industrial site,” he said.

Weyerhaeuser runs nearly 24 hours a day, so injured employees would have to travel to another community at least an hour away if they were hurt during scheduled closures.

Copper Mountain Mine manager Bill Dodds told the Spotlight employees face a similar problembecause the mine runs 24 hours a day.

“We do everything we can, but there can still be an unfortunate accident. Our employees deserve proper health care,” Larsen said.


Just Posted

Driving offence incurs warning of jail time in Princeton court

Judge takes dim view of accused’s record

Are ambassador programs a thing of the past?

Make no mistake about it. It’s a shame that the Princeton Ambassador… Continue reading

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Court relies on Facebook to track down accused

Laughter erupted in Princeton court last Thursday when a man offered to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read