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.

 

 

Just Posted

Wildfire sparks beside Highway 3 west of Keremeos

A wildfire on the side of Highway 3 just west of Keremeos… Continue reading

Rain in the forecast for much of the Southern Interior

Rain for much of the day in most areas clearing in the evening

Warmer fall weather could extend wildfire season: AccuWeather

Above seasonal temperatures are expected throughout September, October and November

Town experiments with protecting eroding brown bridge deck

Unusual wear and tear on the decking of Princeton’s brown bridge has… Continue reading

Word on the Street: Festivalgoers at the 27th annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Okanagan Nation bringing overdose awareness to Syilx Okanagan communities

The Purple Ribbon Campaign for International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 28

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Most Read