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More resources for city’s ER

Improved service: Chief of medical staff Stacey Kirkman, hospital manager Mark Pugh and Interior Health area director Peter du Toit go over plans for the Shuswap Lake General Hospital summer season.  - James Murray/Observer
Improved service: Chief of medical staff Stacey Kirkman, hospital manager Mark Pugh and Interior Health area director Peter du Toit go over plans for the Shuswap Lake General Hospital summer season.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

Shuswap Lake General Hospital docs are doubling up this summer.

Every year between the May long weekend and September, the hospital’s emergency ward experiences a 30 per cent increase in visits, says hospital manager Mark Pugh.

Instead of having one dedicated ER doctor on duty, there will be two between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, Pugh says.

He says the summertime influx of patients to emergency often translates into very long wait times.

“We looked at it proactively with the medical staff,” Pugh said. “Historically we have always had a seasonal-pressures plan for the nursing staff and now this is another piece to reduce wait times in ER.”

Dr. Stacey Kirkman, newly appointed chief of medical staff, calls the plan a big improvement.

“Before, it was volunteer extra coverage and while people were stepping up, there were holes (in the schedule),” he says. “Now it’s rostered…  people are already stepping up, but there are still empty slots for GPs, and locums who would like to do a bit extra. That’s tremendously helpful for keeping the flow in emerge.”

Both Kirkman and Pugh agree that members of the public can do their part to help alleviate long waits in emerge by taking more minor concerns to one of three walk-in clinics.  There are clinics open  during the day and evenings Monday through Friday, as well as some daytime walk-in hours on Saturday. None of the walk-in clinics are open Sunday.

 

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