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MLA Shypitka on the long closure of the Elkford emergency room


Dear Editor,

How long is temporary?

March 29, 2024, will mark two and a half years since Interior Health (IH) closed the Elkford Health Centre’s emergency department. The initial public service announcement remains posted on IH’s website and reads: “Temporary closure of Elkford emergency department.” This got me thinking, how long is temporary and what constitutes changing the wording to “Indefinite closure of Elkford emergency department?”

Temporary and indefinite can be interchangeable but there are differences in their meanings. Temporary typically implies a short time frame while indefinite is without limit. Why does this matter? It’s about semantics. Temporary gives the impression of a short existence while indefinite has no timeline. The truth is that 30 months with no indication of change is far from temporary.

Yet this NDP government continues to ignore the potentially dangerous scenarios that could occur in a mining community due to the lack of an emergency department nearby. Temporary closures of emergency departments in rural areas of B.C. have become the norm under this government. It’s as if it’s acceptable that our healthcare continues to crumble, and no solutions are offered. Only false hope with the use of the word temporary.

Staffing shortages are the number one reason this NDP government cites as reasons for emergency department closure. Excuse me, “temporary closures.” How is this possible when the Minister of Health bragged about “unprecedented investments into B.C.’s healthcare workforce and system” back in December 2023? This included the claim that 6,258 new nurses were hired last year. Where are they working? Not in the Elkford emergency department.

The NDP government needs to stop spreading false hope by calling these emergency department closures “temporary” and start figuring out how to restore services. Wait, that’s what the NDP does best… talk about how much better they will make the province while our healthcare system crumbles around them. Results matter. We need action.


Tom Shypitka

MLA Kootenay East

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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