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Patients suffer as Elkford ER closure hits the one-year mark

Patients suffer as Elkford ER closure hits the one-year mark

ELKFORD (September 29, 2022) – It was one year ago today that Interior Health announced the ‘temporary’ closure of Elkford’s emergency room — yet there is still no sign of it opening anytime soon.

“Winter is approaching, the roads will soon become unpredictable, and still this NDP government thinks it’s okay for patients in medical distress to have to be medically transported 45 minutes on a good day to the nearest ER in Fernie. It’s unacceptable,” says Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East. “The only other option is Sparwood — a 30-minute transfer when roads are clear — which only offers emergency medical treatment during limited hours at its health centre. The people of Elkford deserve timely access to urgent medical care, but they’re not getting it.”

Shypitka notes Elkford is a mining town, with an increased potential for workplace accidents that can be serious and require immediate attention. Shutting down the local ER for a year, and clearly longer, is a huge concern to the community.

“Where is the recruitment effort to bring in more health care workers? Today, after two terms of being in office, the NDP is finally announcing their long-awaited health human resources strategy,” says Shypitka. “This could have been done a lot sooner but thanks to NDP delays, the health care situation in Elkford and other rural communities has continued to deteriorate. I will continue to press this government to reopen the ER in Elkford and help residents access the vital services they need, when they need them. However, I won’t hold my breath, as the NDP continue to show they are incapable of resolving the big concerns people care about. This issue is of critical importance to my riding. As the Legislature resumes on Monday, I will be speaking to this crisis and holding the government to account.”

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