Home » Shypitka says Elkford ED closure on NDP government

Posted: September 30, 2021

Shypitka says Elkford ED closure on NDP government

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka says the recent closure of the Elkford Emergency Department (ED) is indicative of the NDP government’s failure to properly address the ongoing problem of inadequate staffing at rural health centres and hospitals.

“We are seeing an increasing number of hospitals around B.C. hav​ing to close their doors, simply because they cannot find enough staff to keep them open, and the same thing is happening here in the Kootenays,” said Shypitka. “The Elkford (ED) is closing its emergency department with no end date in sight, leaving the surrounding community without access to emergency medical care — and this isn’t the first time. The Elkford ER was closed for a week this past July, for five months between April and August 2020, and even periodically in the years before COVID-19. It’s time for real action from John Horgan and the NDP to bring this chronic staffing shortage to an end.”

Shypitka noted the Elkford ED joins Fort St. John Hospital, the Barriere Health Centre, ​the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater, and ​the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, on a growing list of facilities around the province that have had to periodically close their emergency departments because of health care worker shortages.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened staffing issues that have persisted at Elkford Health Care Centre for years,” said Shypitka. “The NDP knew there was a problem and did nothing to ensure appropriate staffing levels, leading to shortages and closures at a time when access to health care is more important than ever.

“My constituents, and all British Columbians, deserve to know that adequate medical care will be available to them in an emergency but for the residents of Elkford, that is no longer the case. It is time for the NDP to take steps that will provide immediate relief to health care workers and hospitals that are stretched thin. Our health care systems cannot afford to wait years to see results.”

e-KNOW file photo

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