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Closure of Oliver hospital emergency during wildfire criticized by BC United

Lack of doctors closed South Okanagan General Hospital emergency Sunday night

The BC United Party is going after the provincial government for allowing the Oliver emergency department to close in the midst of Osoyoos being under threat and residents facing evacuation orders due to the Eagle Bluff wildfire.

“It is terrifying to think that with hundreds of people fleeing a wildfire, an already dangerous and frightening situation was made worse by the closure of essential emergency medical services,” said BC United health ministry critic Shirley Bond.

“The South Okanagan General Hospital has the only emergency department servicing Osoyoos and Oliver, and for this NDP government to let it close during a wildfire puts people’s safety at risk. At a time when stability and emergency resources are so important, residents were told they would need to drive even further, to Penticton, if they needed care during the 14-hour closure.”

The South Okanagan General Hospital (SOGH) emergency in Oliver once again closed due to “unexpected limited physician availability” on Sunday night.

From 6 p.m., Sunday, July 30, to 8 a.m., Monday, July 31, emergency services were unavailable and patients had to access care at Penticton Regional Hospital.

People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.

The SOGH emergency has been closed many times over the summer due to limited doctors and/or nurses.

READ MORE: Oliver emergency closes again

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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