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Doctor shortage once again closes Oliver hospital’s emergency room

Emergency services have been made unavailable several times over the last few weeks
Oliver hospital’s ER has been plagued with closures due to lack of doctors. (File photo)

The South Okanagan General Hospital’s emergency department is set to close once again, this time from 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.

This marks the seventh closure at the Oliver hospital since Nov. 23, due to a doctor shortage.

Interior Health says patients can access care at the Penticton Regional Hospital during this time.

All other inpatient services will continue as normal at South Okanagan General Hospital, IH added.

The Oliver hospital’s emergency department has been plagued with closures. Martin Johansen, the town’s mayor, called the service interruptions “unacceptable” in October.

Johansen later expressed optimism when the provincial government on Oct. 19, announced it was committing $7.5 million in permanent funding to help stabilize physician emergency-room coverage in hospitals in Merritt, Oliver and Salmon Arm.

Recent closures at the Oliver hospital’s emergency department include a 24-hour interruption that started on the evening of Dec. 1 and into the morning of Dec. 2.

READ MORE: Oliver hospital closes emergency department once again