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Rural residents deserve equity in health care services

ELKFORD (January 23, 2023) – Residents of Elkford in B.C.’s Kootenay region shouldn’t have to go more than two years without emergency medical services — but that may be their reality under David Eby and the NDP.

“Elkford is also a mining town, where serious workplace accidents are a possibility. Workers absolutely need to be reassured that emergency care will be there when they need it, and quickly,” says Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka. “Once again, I’m calling on this NDP government to do whatever it takes to reopen the Elkford ER and help residents access the vital services they need. This community cannot accept any more NDP delays.”

Shypitka says it’s not good enough for the NDP to expect patients in medical distress to be transported either 45 minutes to Fernie, or 30 minutes to Sparwood where the ER has limited hours. Those driving times are on good days, but in the middle of winter it can take even longer.

“The ER in Elkford has already been closed for sixteen months, and now Interior Health says it could take another year to restore emergency services in this community. Where is the action from our new Premier, who claimed he would ‘hit the ground running’ on big issues like health care?” asks Shirley Bond, Shadow Minister for Health. “All communities, including rural ones, deserve timely access to urgent health care services, close to home — but they’re not getting it under this government.”

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