Emergency care service improved for Clearwater

Clearwater’s Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital will receive $200,000 to strengthen public access to emergency services

Clearwater’s Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital will receive $200,000 to strengthen public access to emergency services.

“This is good news for Clearwater,” said Bryan Redford, community area director with Interior Health. “The money will be used to provide more reliable and sustainable 24/7 emergency service.

Some examples of how the money will be spent include retention incentives for permanent physicians.

It will also provide additional support for locum (temporary doctor) services, for example, by helping pay for accommodation, travel and other expenses.

“Clearwater put in a great application,” said Redford. “We are fortunate to have an outstanding team in Clearwater.”

The Interior Health executive noted that physician recruitment and retention in rural areas are problems throughout Canada.

Clearwater is one of 36 rural communities across British Columbia that will benefit from increased funding.

The Province announced $10 million in July 2011 to provide financial assistance of up to $200,000 a year for rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to ensure reliable public access to emergency services is maintained at their local hospital.

“Recruiting physicians to smaller communities can be a challenge unless they feel supported. This extra funding will do just that,” commented Kamloops – North Thompson MLA Terry Lake.

A joint Ministry of Health and BC Medical Association committee reviewed the applications received to date, and the money is now being distributed.

 

For more information on programs supporting the delivery of medical services in rural B.C. communities and the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/pcb/rural_jsc.html.