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Interior Health asks for patience

The East Kootenay Regional Hospital is seeing increases in visits as a result of recent losses of family physicians in the community.

"We recognize that the emergency department may be the only option for local residents who do not have a family physician at this time," said Grace Kucey, from Interior Health Communications.

Kucey said that this means the emergency department will be busier than normal at times and waits will be longer in some cases. Interior Health is asking for the public's patience and understanding.

As is always the case, patients will be assessed and treated according to how urgent their needs are, with the most serious cases being the top priority.

Kucey noted Interior Health is grateful for the dedicated emergency department physicians and staff who are committed to providing care to all patients. She said all patients who present to the emergency department will be assessed and treated as required.

In order to minimize pressure on the hospital's emergency department, Kucey has the following suggestions if you are unsure about the care you need:

• Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (24 hour service), if you are unsure about your need to go to the emergency department.

• Note the weekend and holiday hours of your local pharmacy/drug store, and ensure your prescriptions are up to date.

"People requiring emergency care should not hesitate in calling 9-1-1 or presenting to the emergency department," she said.

Interior Health also continues to participate in the Cranbrook Supply Task Force recruitment group, which is dedicated to finding new family physicians for the community.

"We applaud the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice, the General Practice Services Committee, the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce, the City of Cranbrook, the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District and the College of the Rockies for their involvement in these efforts, including the recent successful recruitment of new physician, Dr. Karen Fordham, to Cranbrook," Fucey said.

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