Following the successful recruitment of three new physicians, the emergency department at Princeton General Hospital will return to 24-7 service on Oct. 11.
“This is news our community has been waiting for,” said Ed Staples, Support Our Health Care vice-president. “The re-opening of the Princeton ED 24-7 is a real milestone, one of the many steps in our journey to develop an improved health care model for Princeton and area.”
The new physicians will join the permanent physician and nurse practitioner at the Cascade Medical Clinic to offer primary care services. The four physicians will also share emergency department coverage.
“We are delighted to welcome three new doctors to our community and to have our ER back 24-7. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed in such a positive way to achieve this,” said Nienke Klaver, SOHC secretary.
The recruitment of the new physicians and restoration of full-time ED coverage is a result of the work of many stakeholders.
“It wasn’t just one person. This result is due to the work of a group of very dedicated Princeton residents,” said Councillor Jason Earle. “Good things happen when people get together and work together. Thanks to the ministry of health for listening.”
The Princeton Health Care Steering Committee has developed an Action Framework, which will serve as a blueprint for developing and sustaining an effective health care model for people living in and around Princeton.
Membership in the committee includes representation from Interior Health, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the Town of Princeton, physicians, the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice and the community.
“Princeton is a great example of a community that meets challenges by continuing to put its best foot forward to attract physicians and work as a vital partner in the recruitment process,” said Andrew Neuner, Community Integrated Health Services VP in a press release. “We would like to thank Princeton and area residents for their patience these past many months.”
Princeton General Hospital’s emergency department has been closed four nights a week since May 2012 due to ongoing physician shortages.
“It has been a long and sometimes difficult process,” says Brad Hope, Area H Director for Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen. “But it demonstrates very clearly just how much can be accomplished when we all work together. My profound thanks to this amazing community, to our healthcare professionals, to Interior Health and to the Province for making this happen.”
SOHC director and resident of Coalmont, Ole Juul said they are lucky the hospital is only about 20 minutes away.
“It’s a relief to know that the Princeton hospital emergency department will be open, no matter what time you get there.”