Princeton-area First Nation bands ask government to provide money for locums

The Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian bands are urging the government to provide money for locums to keep Princeton's ER open 24/7.

The Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian bands are urging the government to provide money for locums to keep Princeton Hospital emergency department open 24 hours a day.

The bands asked the minister of health for money to help attract locums to Princeton, which currently has none.

Upper Similkameen Chief Charlotte Mitchell said a 24/7 emergency department at Princeton Hospital is vital because of the band’s involvement in the forestry sector.

“We recognize that you share industry and First Nations’ commitment to the safety and well being of the people of British Columbia, and that you understand in particular the needs of those who work in the forest products industry,” Mitchell said in a letter to Minister of Health Michael de Jong.

Princeton Hospital has been closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday since May 1.

“This means that there is no professional medical support for our employees at times when Upper Similkameen Indian Band logging operation are functioning to our fullest capacity,” Mitchell said.

If a serious accident were to happen, the employee would have to be transported by ambulance to Penticton an hour and 20 minutes away, she said.

“Those 80 minutes could mean the difference between a full recovery on the one hand and serious disability, even death, on the other,” said Lower Similkameen Chief Robert Edward in another letter to the health minister.

“We understand attracting and retaining general practitioners to rural communities calls for longer term solutions, emergency services can’t wait.”

The $500,000, which could come from the Rural General Practitioner Locum Program, could help Princeton attract locums for a year while the bands work with the government to develop a long-term strategy, Edward said.

Jon Slater, Interior Health Authoroty senior medical director, told the Spotlight last month that the trick to providing complete emergency room coverage in Princeton is to attract locums and eventually a new doctor.

“The long-term (solution) is to bring physicians to town to establish practice… In the short-term we need to get people from out of town to help us out,” he said.

Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali said doctors aren’t coming to Princeton because they can’t practice services they trained for, such as surgery and delivering babies.

“I know the Liberals like to blame doctors, and say: ‘It’s not an issue of finances. It’s an issue of doctors not wanting to come to small towns,” said Lali at a legislative assembly in May.

Princeton’s health care problem is caused by lack of money, not the number of doctors available to work in B.C., he said.

But de Jong said funding doctors is not the problem, it’s finding them.

“To suggest, somehow, that there is an issue around the funding of the primary caregiver in the guise of the doctor is simply inaccurate and untrue,” he said.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Like many in British Columbia, you may be worried about running into… Continue reading

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

Princeton snow removal costs top $40k in December

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

Video: Penticton’s ‘unsung heroes’ of South Okanagan set up and take down

Large numbers of local workers benefit from the big productions that come to Penticton each year.

Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

2020 budget is nearly half a million higher than the 2019 municipal budget of $15,905,410

UBC Okanagan art students to improve the environment one project at a time

The Ecosine Art Group uses non-purchased, recyclable mediums for 50 per cent of their art

Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

West Kelowna man charged with attempted murder of 79-year-old mother back in court

Kevin Lee Barrett was charged in April 2019 after allegedly beating his mother, leaving her stranded

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Hudson’s Bay spotlights old Vernon store

Old downtown department store remembered fondly

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Highway 1 closed near Golden

DriveBC estimates the road to reopen at 1 p.m.

Most Read