South Similkameen Health Centre. (Google)

South Similkameen Health Centre. (Google)

Unvaccinated doctors lead to shortened hours in Keremeos emergency

Residents say there are 2 of 5 doctors unvaccinated in the small community

Unvaccinated doctors in Keremeos are the contributing factor to why the emergency hours were cut at South Similkameen Health Centre.

In a Monday press conference, B.C. Minister Adrian Dix spoke to the impact of unvaccinated employees on the health care system by pointing to Keremeos and reduced operating room hours in Kelowna.

“There is some impact on lab times and responses and in communities such as Keremeos where a large percentage of a relatively small group of people in the facility there mean hours being adjusted. None of this desirable but it is necessary,” said Dix.

Residents have spoken to Black Press to say two of the five doctors are unable to practice medicine because they are unvaccinated. With such a small pool of doctors in Keremeos, this puts a strain on the medical system there.

It was early Monday morning, when Keremeos and area residents were told about the change to the emergency department hours at the South Similkameen Health Centre. IH said it was due to limited physician availability.

As of Nov. 1, the emergency department will be open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the first time in a while that the South Similkameen Health Centre has had to reduce hours because of a doctor shortage.

If you require care while the emergency department is closed, your options are to visit the emergency department at one of the following facilities:

• Penticton Regional Hospital, 550 Carmi Ave.

• South Okanagan General Hospital, 911 McKinney Rd., Oliver

• Princeton General Hospital, 98 Ridgewood Dr.

• Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (24-hour service) if you are unsure of your need to seek emergency care.

Interior Health has the highest number of unvaccinated healthcare workers in B.C., and many are at risk of losing their jobs if they don’t comply with Provincial Health Orders, according to the Ministry of Health.

Some 1,186 of the Interior Health region’s 21,675 health care workers – about seven per cent – are currently unvaccinated, compared with 1,106 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Doctors are not included in those numbers.

READ MORE: Interior Health has the highest number of unvaccinated healthcare workers

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