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Letter: IH comments on Elkford Health Centre’s emergency department closure

Re: Elkford Health Centre’s emergency department closure.

Re: Elkford Health Centre’s emergency department closure.

Thank you for raising awareness about emergency services in the Elk Valley, published in the Fernie Free Press on Jan. 25.

It is important that residents living in Elkford know they have three options if they need emergency medical attention.

Residents should call 9-1-1 or, if able, drive 30 minutes to Sparwood emergency department or 45 minutes to Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie if they require immediate or urgent medical care. They are also encouraged to call 8-1-1 to discuss their health concerns with a nurse if they are uncertain as to whether they can wait to seek medical attention.

Primary care appointments as well as lab and X-ray services are available at the Elkford Health Centre, along with community health programs.

We are not in a position to resume consistent, reliable and safe emergency department services in Elkford due to our ongoing staffing challenges in the community and across the Elk Valley.

Our challenges right now cover all areas – physicians, nursing, lab and X-ray staff. We are recruiting to fill all of these positions, but it is challenging based on staffing pressures across the East Kootenay and Interior Health.

We are pleased to note that we have had a number of physicians express interest in positions in Elkford and three have accepted positions to start at the Elkford Health Centre in July 2023.

Interior Health appreciates the efforts of previous mayor Dean McKerracher, Teck and other partners to recruit new staff and physicians to Elkford. We look forward to also working with new Mayor Steve Fairbairn on recruitment efforts that will help stabilize health services in Elkford.

We know the Elk Valley offers many great resources to encourage health-care staff to choose this region for their home. We hope city council will continue to showcase those positive attributes as we work together to recruit health-care workers to Elkford.

Diane Shendruk,

Vice-president, Interior Health North

Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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