ELKFORD (September 29, 2023) – Two years ago today, Interior Health announced the temporary closure of Elkford Health Centre’s emergency department — yet while patients suffer and the community pleads for help, there has been zero communication from David Eby’s NDP government on when it will finally reopen.
“This is absurd. For the past two years, members of this community have had to travel upwards of 45 minutes just to get to the nearest ER and with winter approaching, that journey becomes much longer and significantly more dangerous,” said Tom Shypitka, BC United MLA for Kootenay East. “This NDP government seems to be content with leaving a rural ER sitting ‘temporarily’ closed for two years, with no clarity as to when it will reopen. The people of Elkford are fed up and want to know when they’ll be able to access emergency care, but David Eby and the NDP refuse to give us a straight answer.”
Elkford is not alone when it comes to emergency room disruptions. Communities across the province are also struggling with extensive closures and it is putting immense pressure on neighbouring ambulance services. In Elkford, a mining town that depends on emergency medical access, not having an ER has been devastating to the community.
“This government continues to drag its feet with recruiting doctors and nurses to staff emergency rooms across the province, and rural communities feel the impacts most acutely,” added Shypitka. “As the healthcare situation in British Columbia continues to deteriorate, it is unacceptable that residents in this province — rural or not — should have to face extensive travel to another facility just to see a doctor. After two terms, all this NDP government has shown is that they are incapable of delivering results — even when lives are at stake.”