Kaslo residents are being warned of another closure to the emergency department of their health centre due to a shortage of doctors.
Victorian Community Health Centre’s emergency department will be closed overnight from 5 p.m. on Monday, June 24 until Tuesday at 8 a.m. and again on Thursday, June 27 from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m.
The emergency department will also be closed over the long weekend from Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m. until Tuesday, July 2 at 8 a.m.
Interior Health’s Cheryl Whittleton, who handles community integrated health services for the Kootenay Boundary, explains closures to the Kaslo facility are happening because the community is short a half-time doctor in that community.
“We understand the frustration the community feels,” she says. “We don’t want to see disruptions in service.”
Currently, there is a half-time doctor on contract in Kaslo along with two additional physicians providing regular locum coverage.
“We try get locum coverage to fill the vacancy but over summer every community without doctors is trying to recruit locums too,” she says.
She says Interior Health continues to actively recruit for permanent and locum physicians with local help.
“We are engaged with the community and working together to promote Kaslo as a great place to work and live,” she says.
The health authority advises Kaslo and area residents of the following options if they require care when the emergency department is closed. In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1. Visit the emergency department at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson. For non-urgent needs, visit a walk-in clinic in Nelson.
They also suggest noting the weekend and holiday hours of local pharmacies and ensuring prescriptions are up to date. if anyone is unsure about whether they need to go to the emergency department call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. It’s a 24-hour service.
Previous closures occurred in April and May.
However, Interior Health backed off on plans announced last fall to reduce round-the-clock coverage to weekday business hours.