To start the month of December, South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency department closed again, this time for 24 hours.
Emergency services are unavailable from Dec. 1 starting at 6 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
This is the fifth closure since November 23, following additional closures on Nov. 24, Nov. 28 and Nov. 29. The closures in those instances were all far shorter and at most 12 hours long.
IH has stated in a press release that a lack of available physicians is behind the closure.
Patients can access care at Penticton Regional Hospital during the closure.
All other inpatient services will continue as normal at South Okanagan General Hospital.
The Oliver emergency room has been plagued with closures. In October, Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen was optimistic that a new funding model to compensate doctors would help bring a near end to or at least lessen the constant emergency department closures at South Okanagan General Hospital.
“This is a positive step in the right direction with giving physicians a flat rate instead of fee for service,” said Johansen at the time. “Younger doctors seem to like this model. It’s not a silver bullet but I think it will bring stabilization.”
One of the big problems is emergency physicians from Penticton or Kelowna hospital were paid less when they worked in Oliver, Johansen said.
The provincial government announced earlier in the fall that they are offering a flat rate compensation and committed $7.5 million in permanent funding to help stabilize physician emergency-room coverage in hospitals in Merritt, Oliver and Salmon Arm.