The Cariboo Memorial Hospital (CMH) inpatient medical unit in Williams Lake will continue to operate as usual for the Easter long weekend, stated Interior Health (IH) in a news release today (April 6).
IH said Patients will be admitted to CMH unless their medical needs require transfer to a higher level of care.
The release said IH continues to work urgently to address physician staffing shortages at the hospital after an agreement with local family physicians over inpatient coverage ran out at the end of March.
“We are grateful for the local staff who have been ensuring coverage so that patient care can continue as usual, and also to the physicians from other communities who are travelling to maintain these medical services in Williams Lake,” stated the release.
Interior Health said they recognize how important these local services at CMH are for Williams Lake and the broader region as they struggle to find a solution to support keeping inpatients in Williams Lake.
“Our commitment is to do everything possible to avoid service interruptions,” they stated.
In the event a service interruption is unavoidable, Interior Health said they will notify the community at the earliest possible opportunity.
The emergency department at CMH is open for any patients who need emergency care.
City council passed a motion at their regular meeting this week to send a request to Interior Health to immediately set up an urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) in Williams Lake.
An urgent primary care clinic could help alleviate the pressure on the emergency room staff in a community with no walk-in clinic and thousands without a family physician.
Coun. Scott Nelson said Interior Health told council an estimated 40 to 45 per cent of the population in the Cariboo Chilcotin does not have a family doctor. This would mean over 10,000 people in the local health area, according to 2021 population numbers.
Interior Health said they will provide additional updates as more information is available.
With files from Monica Lamb-Yorski.