Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Prince Rupert's Emergency Closures gain notice of BC United Opposition, Vancouver media

With Day Four of the extended period of overnight Hospital Emergency Room Closures  now in the books, the concerning issues related to health care for Prince Rupert are gaining some wider notice.

Yesterday, Northern Health announced just after 3 PM that for the fourth night in a row that the PRRH Emergency Department would be closed overnight, leaving residents to weigh their options of waiting out the 8 AM opening or making arrangements for the two hour transit for Health care in Terrace.

The health care conversation which is roiling the local social media channels, expanded its footprint last night with a story from CTV British Columbia, as that media service outlined the situation facing Prince Rupert residents and other northern BC communities.

Safety closures, frustration amid multiple ER Closures in Northern BC hospitals 

The piece which listed a number ares of concerns related to all of Northern Health, also  featured the observations of BC United MLA Shirley Bond, the party's health critic who recounted just one of the growing number of stories from those in Prince Rupert who have been impacted by the four nights and counting of ER Closures.

The BC NDP Government somewhat fortunate that at the moment the Legislature is on Spring Break, as the issue of Health Care is one that the Opposition parties are clearly ready to pounce on when MLA's return following Easter.

Also responding to CTV BC by email, was Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond, who noted of the city's concerns on the issue and noted that the city is planning to take part in a regional conversation on Health care with other local governments next month. 

“We are communicating with the provincial government about this issue…one shared with other rural communities,” he wrote in an email, adding that a local government alliance will be holding a meeting to discuss hospital issues early next month. -- Mayor Herb Pond to CTV BC by email

The Mayor's comments for CTV BC make for his first public commentary since Friday night launched the current cycle of nightly ER Sessions closures now in motion.

Other than a relay of the Northern Health closure notices, neither the CityMayor or the members of City Council have issued any kind of official statement related to the four days of reduced operations at the Hospital.

The same goes for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who has not made note of the issues that started on Friday night through the range of her usual forums for community updates.

There has been some social media commentary from a pair of council members, the longest piece coming yesterday from Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven, who has not spoken much to any topic during City Council sessions for a number of months now.  

Yesterday however, he provided for some message making; though it was a contribution with little in the way of actual  guidance for local residents towards the issues of the moment. 

Much of the focus for his piece, was to follow the NDP Government's themes of the larger global issues for health care. 

The Councillors notes seemingly to deflect some of the anger in the community away from local officials and the MLA and over to the Minister of Health's office.

The only other Council member to use her social media voice was Councillor Teri Forster, who has relayed some of the recent closure announcements. But in fairness to the councillor, as she's employed by Northern Health, she is limited as to what she can say publicly about any situations within Health Care in the city.

Also missing from the information chain is any kind of update from Health Authority officials on the Prince Rupert Health Care situation from Northern Health,.

The Health Authority limiting their commentary to just what is now a daily announcement of the closures ahead for the Emergency Department.

The growing volume of stories of community concern that is being relayed through a number of Social media streams, the majority of them through this page,  provides a very good taking of the pulse of the rising level of anxiety that the situation is causing the community. 

Those accounts of the frustrations from people in the community,  should serve as a guide for Health Authority officials and the elected ones as well, that there is quite clearly a need for much better engagement by all of those we look to for leadership.

With this current ER Closure situation arriving with the annual Spring Break, which as CTV BC noted finding replacement physicians an nurse is challenging across the province,  all local eyes now shift to the Northern Health Prince Rupert Facebook page, and whether tonight brings another last minute notice that the ER is closed once again.

More notes on Health Care in the region can be reviewed from our archive page

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