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Interior Health adjusting services to strengthen patient safety

The Emergency Department at Slocan Community Health Centre in New Denver has reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours until further notice.

 Interior Health is announcing temporary service adjustments to strengthen patient care due to Omicron-related COVID-19 staffing challenges.

“As we manage the Omicron-driven COVID-19 staffing impacts on the health system, Interior Health is proactively identifying services to adjust and relocate in order to maintain safe patient care,” said Interior Health president and CEO, Susan Brown.

“We will resume normal operations in impacted communities as soon as possible and in the meantime, we are temporarily reassigning and redeploying staff to sustain essential services throughout the region.”

The temporary service changes include:

  • Closing inpatient services in Clearwater, Invermere, and Lillooet to stabilize emergency departments in those communities;
  • Reducing overnight hours at the Ashcroft Community Health Centre and the Slocan Community Health Centre in New Denver to stabilize daytime services in those communities; (Slocan Community Health Centre in New Denver: ED hours will be reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours. Until further notice its temporary hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone requiring emergency services outside these hours should call 911 or visit the Arrow Lakes Hospital in Nakusp (48 km away).
  • Closing the Barriere and District Health Centre to redeploy staff to nearby emergency departments;
  • Temporarily rescheduling all non-urgent surgeries; temporarily reducing services across IH to some outpatient services; some primary care services, adult day programs and some non-urgent home health services.

Interior Health said service changes will vary by community and primarily impact scheduled patients and clients who will be contacted directly. In each instance an evaluation of patient or client impacts is being reviewed as well as alternate options for care.

“Current COVID-19 pressures have lead to a staffing crisis that requires temporary emergency measures to maintain access to essential services that are relied on regionally. We regret the impacts these service adjustments may cause and will be contacting patients, clients and residents directly to address care needs wherever possible,” added Brown.

Interior Health is reaching out to local leaders and partners to answer questions and work together through this challenging time. Regular communications and updates will be located here:

“People living across the Interior region overcame exceptional challenges last year. I would like to thank each and every person working in health care for their selfless determination as we get through this crisis together.”