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Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Doerkson calls situation at CMH a crisis, demands government action

Doerkson quotes from motion of non-confidence letter by hospital staff to Interior Health
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking during Question Period. (Video screen shot)

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson continued to pressure B.C.’s NDP government to address what he is calling a crisis at Cariboo Memorial Hospital (CMH) during Question Period in the B.C. Legislature on May 10.

Doerkson quoted from a letter reportedly sent to Interior Health on behalf of 17 of 19 permanent CMH operating room nurses and 11 of 13 CMH operating room physicians.

The letter, which Doerkson shared with the Tribune, is titled as a motion of non-confidence in the administrators overseeing operations of the operating room unit at CMH.

Dated February 1, 2022, the letter cites serious issues including “workplace intimidation, harassment and bullying,” “grave concerns with clinical care” and “poor communications and lack of collaboration between administration and clinical staff in the unit.”

In his question to Health Minister Adrian Dix, Doerkson quoted the letter as calling for “immediate actions to ensure a safe working environment and prevention of further harassment, bullying, and intimidation of staff.”

He called for Dix to take steps to prevent more resignations of physicians and nurses at CMH.

In his response, Dix recalled his visit to Williams Lake prior to Doerkson’s election as an MLA and the commitment to rebuild CMH and cited the challenges all health care staff have been facing during Covid across the province.

Doerkson posted the video of his question and the Minister’s response to his Facebook page and wrote “I am growing increasingly frustrated. I have received very concerning comments and pictures from concerned nurses and patients.”

On May 5, Doerkson had also asked for action on the issues raised after longtime surgeon Dr. Dan Brosseuk resigned from CMH after more than 27 years of surgical practice at the hospital.

Doerkson quoted from Brosseuk’s letter of resignation: “There’s a constant push to cancel or delay surgeries without consideration of patient care or needs. Patient care has been continuously eroded to the point where I can no longer participate in good conscience.”

The motion of non-confidence letter also describes a “toxic work place” and alleges clinical decisions by physicians are being questioned by administration, “sometimes with the ultimate decision on patient care being made by those unqualified to do so.”

“Administration cannot be allowed to override the expertise of physicians when directing appropriate patient care,” states the letter.

Interior Health (IH) and the Ministry of Heath declined interview requests regarding Doerkson’s comments, staff retention or alleged issues at CMH. The ministry instead referred back to the IH original response which stated that they were committed to recruiting a new surgeon.

Read more: Longtime Williams Lake surgeon resigns over Interior Health admin changes

Read more: Rural health service reductions to last up to 4 weeks: Interior Health president

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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