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Williams Lake city council asks Interior Health for truth, answers on doctors’ departures

Council also wants meetings with IH and B.C.’s health minister
Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake city council continues to apply pressure for a meeting with Interior Health (IH) to discuss concerns about doctors leaving the community.

Two weeks ago council unanimously passed a motion directing staff to request a meeting and on Tuesday, March 7, council asked again, this time directing staff to accelerate its efforts.

“It gets very frustrating,” said Coun. Sheila Boehm, who supported Coun. Scott Nelson’s concerns. “We have been trying to meet with them but the city has not had any communication from IH. Boehm expressed fears of rotating closures of the emergency department.

Two weeks ago Nelson raised concerns about doctors leaving and repeated those again.

“IH doesn’t want to talk at this time, but I think we need to use the clout of the community to elevate our concerns,” Nelson said.

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor said staff is working to call a meeting.

He also told Nelson IH was not happy about a Facebook post Nelson made asking for some answers from IH about doctors leaving, and calling on Cariboo Memorial Hospital site director Derek Keller to provide some answers.

“I had to apologize on behalf of council,” Rathor said and suggested it was better to use honey than vinegar.

“When I was a councillor I was more critical, but it is different now that I am sitting in the mayor’s chair,” Rathor said.

Responding, Nelson said IH may be able to throw gag orders on their doctors and nurses, but he is a city councillor and people have been calling him with concerns.

“It is OK to hold someone accountable,” Nelson said. “We have to create communication, break down the silos, and get the straight truth from IH.”

Council also directed staff to request a meeting with B.C.’s health minister Adrian Dix to discuss the loss of doctors and lack of communication from IH.

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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