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Rural B.C. emergency room to close overnight for days as staffing shortages plague hospital

Ambulances will take patients to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops
Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital. (File photo)

Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital’s emergency department will be closed overnight for several days this week.

In a public service announcement released by Interior Health Tuesday evening, the Clearwater hospital’s emergency department will be closed during the overnight shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., from Aug. 17 to 22, due to “limited staffing availability.”

The announcement follows an initial closure from 7 p.m. on Aug. 16 to 7 a.m. on Aug. 17, as well as a closure of the Barriere Health Centre’s emergency department on Friday, Aug. 6.

Those requiring emergency services are advised to call 911 or proceed to the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, more than one hour away.

If it is unsure what services are required, call 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

“Interior Health apologizes for this temporary interruption to normal services,” the statement reads.

In a social media post, Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell put out a call for more staff.

“DM me if you’d like to give us a shot,” Blackwell tweeted.

“Beyond the nice lake, we have a hockey arena with lots of ice time for your kids, a mountain bike trail system, whitewater kayaking in town, well equipped schools with plenty of room, Wells Gray Park and more! (Okay, we have a Timmies).”

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