EDITORIAL: ER opening should give residents relief

Lets hope the community of Princeton and those who depend on its’ hospitals services never have to hold their breath again.

It’s about time.

Princeton General Hospital will return to a 24-7 emergency department as of Oct. 11 and I’m sure the community and surrounding areas are breathing a sigh of relief.

New physicians, the result of intense concentration on recruiting, returns the full-time emergency department coverage. This is a direct result of the co-operation and hard work among many different stakeholders.

As well as meaning the opening of the emergency department full-time, it also provides this community with a long-term sustainable health care plan. It is great to hear from new doctors, like Black who is falling in love with Princeton.

She told the Similkameen Spotlight that even though her contract to serve the community is three years, she hopes to make it a permanent position because of her dedication to rural medicine, emergency and geriatric care.

The decision to reduce the emergency department hours must not have come easy, considering how many lives potentially could be put at risk if they needed the treatment immediately.

Earlier this year, a group of doctors shared with the media their personal emergency room horror stories to show that overcrowding and a number of issues bog down health care in the province.

The provincial government responded not by just throwing a bunch of money at the problem but also highlighting the importance of family doctors integrating with other providers to keep people out of the emergency department.

While it took 16 months the Princeton Hospital emergency room is opening full-time and with three new physicians, who are accepting new patients. From all accounts it sounds as if Dr. Black, who joins a team with two other doctors and a nurse practicioner are following the suggestions put forward by the province.

With this action plan in place lets hope the community of Princeton and those who depend on its’ hospitals services never have to hold their breath again.