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‘Unexpected’ lack of doctors closes Oliver’s emergency overnight

South Okanagan General Hospital opened again at 8 a.m. March 26

Oliver hospital’s emergency department closed overnight Saturday due to ‘unexpected’ limited physician availability, said Interior Health.

The emergency department at South Okanagan General Hospital (SOGH) was closed from 10 p.m. Saturday, March 25 to 8 a.m. Sunday, March 26. Emergency services were unavailable and patients were taken to Penticton Regional Hospital.

During this time, all other inpatient services continue as normal at South Okanagan General Hospital.

People in the community who needed 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, said Interior Health.

The SOGH has had to close its emergency numerous times over the years due to lack of doctors and nurses.

The mayor of Oliver has called on the provincial government to help in the crisis but has not had much progress.

In 2021, out of the 81 general practitioners in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, about 25 were expected to retire within the next five to 10 years, according to the SOS Department of Family Practice.

READ MORE: Mayor of Oliver calls on province to address South Okanagan doctor shortage

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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