Interior Health management should spend a couple of weeks working at South Okanagan General Hospital to see why doctors are so concerned.
Only when you step into their shoes can you truly understand the challenges they face. But Interior Health has a habit of making decisions behind a desk instead of seeing firsthand what the problems are.
For example, the patient-to-nurse ratio (reportedly nine to one) at SOGH is too high. You’re just asking for burn-out, potential errors and inadequate health care (although the nurses do the best they can).
The other ongoing issue is adequate emergency room coverage. It’s very interesting, yet very troubling, that Interior Health had the money to pay out-of-town doctors a bonus to cover the ER, yet it never had the money when local doctors needed it, according to former chief of staff Dr. Peter Entwistle.
It’s a sad fact that Oliver doctors do not make as much as Penticton physicians who cover the ER in their workplace. This situation should be rectified immediately.
Oliver is not some backwater hick town, and its hospital has one of the most state-of-the-art computer programs in Canada. So why is it being treated like a third-rate facility?
Although SOGH has lost a lot of beds and services over the years, patients still receive great care. But any further losses would diminish this care and relegate the hospital to walk-in clinic status.
Interior Health recently assured Oliver Town council that this wouldn’t happen, so all of us have to hold them to that. Don’t give us any reason to start calling them “Inferior Health.”
If it wasn’t for Dr. Entwistle resigning as chief of staff and running as an independent in the May 9 election, these issues would not have been addressed with some urgency.
Lyonel Doherty, editor