On Friday, Interior Health issued a confusing press release with one message. Doctors will not be on duty at SOGH from 10 pm to 6am unless called in by a nurse.
For the last few years the hospital has staffed the General Hospital with nurses and a doctor overnight.
Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff was called this morning for a reaction. Mayor McKortoff stated she knows the people want a fully staffed hospital but the reality is it cannot not be done under the present situation. That situation is that more and more physicians want to practice but not have to work in the day and overnight as well.
The Ministry of Health will not hire a doctor and will not adjust the pay scale for rurally based physicians.
McKortoff said the compromise is better than talk of closing the ER completely. The mayor said if it works that’s good it doesn’t the local community will look at it again.
Her comments mirrored those of Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen in a weekend interview with Black Press.
Johansen said he is pleased with the emergency room changes.
“I’m positive that we’re working in the right direction,” he said.
He added that the emergency room coverage is the result of discussions between municipal councils and Interior Health, in order to meet the needs of the region.
A recent poll on ODN also reflected a lack of interest in the downgrading of services at South Okanagan General Hospital.