Reporting on the most recent (Apr. 17) Wellness & Health Action Coalition (WHAC) meeting led Council into a discussion of recently announced cutbacks to Emergency Room hours.
“Residents are advised that the Ashcroft Hospital and Health Centre Emergency Department will be experiencing reduced hours due to a lack of physician availability,” according to an Interior Health media release.
“Effective May 1, and until further notice, the Emergency Department will be open:
Monday, 8 a.m. to noon
Tuesday, 9 a.m. to noon
Wednesday, 9 a.m. to noon
Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon
Friday, 6 p.m. to midnight
Saturday and Sunday 24 hours
“It’s a real shame,” said Ashcroft Mayor Jack Jeyes at the Apr. 27 Council meeting.
Dr. Sarina Govindasamy is still practicing in Ashcroft, and is expected to do so until at least the end of the year. Locums are in place until May 30 to supplement primary care.
Jeyes said they’ve been told by Interior Health that there will be no staff reductions at the hospital. His understanding of the situation, he told Council,was that patients would be able get tests and test results and prescriptions from the locums.
He said the international licensing program is being streamlined and the first cohort (group) has just begun the qualification process. Ashcroft has been told there are two doctors in the second cohort that are earmarked for Ashcroft. That group will begin the qualification process this coming Winter.
“I would like to know what our provincial and federal ministers of health think they’re leading us into,” said Coun. Al Mertens. “People can afford health care here but they can’t get it. We need to make some kind of noise. We can’t just sit back and quietly hope and wait.”