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Fraser-Nicola NDP candidate pledges 24/7 Ashcroft emergency department

Horgan government commits to round-the-clock emergency department at Ashcroft Hospital if re-elected
NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza says that if re-elected, the BC NDP will commit to 24/7 emergency department service at the Ashcroft Hospital. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Fraser-Nicola NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza announced on Oct. 19 that if John Horgan’s NDP government is re-elected, it will make sure that the Ashcroft Hospital stays open round-the-clock so residents get the emergency care they need when they need it.

“Making sure people can get emergency care any time of day or night is my priority for the people of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and the surrounding area,” said Sumexheltza. “Our NDP government has been working to turn the problem around by training and attracting more doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. And now I’m pleased to say that I’ve received an assurance from John Horgan that this hospital will be open 24/7 if his government is re-elected.”

For the past several years the hospital’s emergency department has been open from 6 p.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. Monday (closed on statutory holidays). Outside those hours, anyone needing emergency treatment must travel to Lillooet, Kamloops, 100 Mile House, or Merritt.

Sumexheltza says that he has been hearing a lot about health care; not just in Ashcroft, but in the surrounding communities. “I’ve heard about the Ashcroft emergency department over the years, so I know it’s been an issue for some time. There’s also been an issue getting nurses and doctors here. It’s a personal issue for people in this part of the world.

“There’s a strong group of advocates here fighting for access to health care. If you live in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, or Clinton, you have the right to the same health care as people in urban centres.”

Sumexheltza says tragedies have happened already, and there’s a continued risk with each passing day.

“This is one of the first issues I raised with John Horgan after being nominated. Making sure people in the Ashcroft area have access to emergency care is critical at any time, and even more important as we deal with the devastating toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very excited about this announcement. It’s one step; the next is to make it happen. If we’re elected I’m committed to this, and I have a commitment from John Horgan and the NDP that they’ll make it happen. The people who live here deserve it.”

Sumexheltza adds that the BC NDP’s new Primary Care Networks and Urgent Primary Care Centres will add 1,300 new doctors, nurses, and health professionals in just a few years, with more to come. The BC NDP’s platform also calls for the opening of B.C.’s second medical school, which will add more health professionals for the long term.