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EDITORIAL: Ongoing challenges affect health care delivery

Researcher. (Pixabay)

Emergency room closures at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver are frequent occurrences.

From Nov. 23 to Dec. 3, the hospital’s emergency room had been closed six times.

The Nov. 23 closure was not the first time the emergency room had been closed, and the Dec. 3 closure is not the last.

Such closures mean those in need of emergency care must travel 40 kilometres north to Penticton, with a travel time of more than half an hour.

The same thing has been happening at other smaller hospitals across the province.

At times, emergency rooms have been closed temporarily, meaning patients must now travel to the nearest hospital to receive the care they need.

Walk-in clinics have also been affected, and in November, the last walk-in clinic in the city of Vernon shut its doors.

In addition, wait times at clinics have been increasing in recent years.

Doctor shortages have affected the delivery of emergency room services and the wait times at walk-in clinics.

This is not a new issue, but rather an ongoing problem affecting health care in British Columbia.

There have been calls for primary care reform in the province.

The provincial government has been working to address the ongoing doctor shortage.

Some important steps are being made, including an expanded registry system. In addition, the federal government announced in the fall that the province will receive $1.2 billion over the next three years to improve health care.

These measures are important, but they do not provide quick and easy solutions to the health-care challenges resulting from a shortage of doctors. It takes time to train new doctors and it takes time to recruit the necessary staff for hospitals and clinics.

Despite some positive efforts, the effects of an ongoing doctor shortage will continue to affect the delivery of health care in this province.

– Black Press