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Sicamous stresses need for Shuswap Lake Hospital infrastructure upgrades

Letter from mayor and council urges Interior Health to ‘advocate for rural health’
Medical staff at Shuswap Lake General Hospital have raised concerns about the state of the hospital and the need for upgrades. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

The District of Sicamous is voicing support for much-needed upgrades at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

A letter signed by Mayor Colleen Anderson and backed by Sicamous council was sent to Susan Brown, Interior Health Authority’s president and CEO, and Doug Cochrane, chair of the Interior Health Authority board of directors.

The letter is requesting funding be restored to aid in modernizing the hospital and allow much-needed infrastructure improvements to take place. Sicamous council has commented on the state of the hospital in past meetings, noting it’s their community’s nearest major hospital and services many Shuswap communities in some capacity.

Read more: Shuswap doctor appalled with state of local hospital

“In 2006, the master site utilization plan was submitted to Interior Health,” reads the letter. “The Government of B.C. recognized the need to modernize Shuswap Lake General Hospital and two of the planned three phases were completed by 2010.

“In June of 2022, Shuswap Lake General Hospital was approved for $1 million in funding for the operating room redesign planning phase.”

The letter goes on to say in October 2022, the project was downgraded and only “ill-defined” operating room renovations were completed, while all other projects were cancelled.

Then, in April, negotiations ended with an agreement to undertake a new site utilization study which could take three to five years to start, reads the letter.

“In recent years, Shuswap Lake General Hospital has experienced reduced intensive care unit capacity which negatively impacts other departments,” reads the letter.

“The outdated infrastructure reduces the quality of care, limits healthcare staff recruitment and increases the risk of total service elimination. These impacts are felt by rural resident across the region.”

The letter ends urging Interior Health to prioritize hospital infrastructure improvements and “advocate for rural health.”

Read more: VIDEO: Shuswap animal rescue overwhelmed in emergency-ridden kitten season


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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