New wrinkle in reduced-ER coverage at SOGH

There’s a new wrinkle in the reduced-ER service saga at South Okanagan General Hospital.

The Interior Health Authority, in an effort to keep the emergency department open overnight without on-site physician coverage, announced late Friday afternoon a Registered Nurse will be assessing patients between 11 p.m. this evening and 8 a.m. Sunday.

“The emergency department will remain open during these times and, as indicated, all patients will be assessed as usual by our nurses,” a service announcement from the IHA reads. “Patients deemed to have urgent needs will be seen and cared for by a physician during this time.

“Those with less urgent needs will be encouraged to stay, to see a physician later in the morning.”

Patients who call an ambulance may be transported to Penticton Regional Hospital.

Regular emergency department service will resume Sept. 3 at 8 a.m., Interior Health said.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” the announcement reads.

In August, Interior Health announced the emergency department would be closed overnight August 13; however, physician coverage was later provided and the ER remained open.

In April, during the provincial election, IHA contracted with out-of-region physicians to fill empty shifts and keep the ER open. IHA has not continued that practice through the summer.