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Milobar calls on province to address health care closures

Emergency rooms in Clearwater and Barriere have notifed residents of overnight closures due to staffing shortages

The MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson Peter Milobar is raising the alarm about staffing shortages, closures and interruptions to medical services in Barriere and Clearwater.

In a letter to NDP Health Minister Adrian Dix, Milobar said residents would like to know what’s being done to address the issues at the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital emergency department and the emergency department at the Barriere Health Centre. He noted it’s “inappropriate” that residents must now travel 1.5 hours for health services that should be available in their own towns.

“It’s a concern for Barriere, Clearwater and all the surrounding areas and the increasing pressure it puts on Royal Inland Hospital,” Milobar told Black Press. “There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive plan going forward to look at a permanent solution.”

He noted that while similar situations are happening across the province, Barriere and Clearwater are experiencing a lack of access to physicians and walk-in clinics as well as not having proper resources to allow staff to decompress and avoid burnout. Although the province announced a primary care centre in Kamloops, he said it has led to the closure of walk-in clinics and doctor’s offices.

Milobar, who shared the letter with the District of Barriere last week, said he has also reached out to Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell.

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