Local group plans rally Friday in response to ER closures at Oliver hospital

By on June 20, 2017

South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency room was closed on Friday night due to lack of available physician coverage. A local group plans a rally on Friday at 2 p.m. at Gyro Park in Osoyoos to express concern about this situation. (Lyonel Doherty file photo)

A local grassroots group plans a rally at Gyro Park on Friday to express concerns about healthcare services in the South Okanagan.

That issue was underscored on the weekend when the emergency room (ER) closed Friday night at South Okanagan General Hospital due to limited physician availability.

The ER has closed in the past for the same reason, and a threatened closure early in June was only averted at the last minute when physician coverage was obtained.

The rally on Friday takes place at 2 p.m. and is being organized by Residents for Healthcare, a group led by Marilyn Mulldoon, Brenda Dorosz and Gaye Horn.

“The continued threat of ER closures in Oliver has left citizenry in both Oliver and Osoyoos in distress,” said Mulldoon in an email.

The group is also concerned about the shortage of family doctors.

“The population of Osoyoos alone swells dramatically during this time of year and closures of the ER will most assuredly impact that local economy as tourists choose other areas where they know both medical and emergency care is accessible and available,” Mulldoon wrote.

The group raised concerns in April with Osoyoos Town Council, proposing at the time that a walk-in clinic be considered for the present Destination Osoyoos (DO) office. The town is now taking steps to seek expert advice on medical services.

Interior Health is not solving the problem of ER closures in a timely manner, the group alleges.

“As such, Residents for Healthcare feels that this matter must be broached at a peaceable rally to raise awareness and discuss impact of the unacceptable ER closures,” the group said. “We seek public opinion at input from stakeholders.”
RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

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