The South Okanagan General Hospital (SOGH) emergency department will continue to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, says Interior Health.
Beginning March 29 (tonight), a physician will be “called” into the SOGH emergency department during the evening (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) to respond to emergencies, rather than remaining on location for an entire shift.
During these evening hours, all patients will be able to access the emergency department and will continue to be assessed by an emergency room nurse, just as they would during the day. A physician on-call will be at the hospital or close by and available at all times to respond to emergency care needs.
For true emergencies or patients under the age of 17, the nurse will call the physician, ensuring a rapid response, Interior Healthy says.
Patients with time-sensitive, but less serious conditions will have arrangements made to go to Penticton Regional Hospital by ambulance or private vehicle.
Patients whose condition can wait until the next day will be given the option of remaining in the waiting room, returning in the morning, or scheduling an appointment with their family physician.
Patients who are unsure of their needs can also dial 8-1-1 to speak to a registered nurse.
During the busier daytime hours (6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) a physician will continue to be on location at the emergency department for all patient visits.
With this interim staffing measure, Interior Health says they are able to improve the sustainability of physician coverage in the emergency department and improve the availability of physicians to see patients during the day.
The interim staffing adjustment will be closely monitored and is part of ongoing work by Interior Health, local emergency physicians, and the SOS Division of Family Practice towards improving and sustaining local access to health services.