Hospital To Temporarily Close Over Lack Of Doctors

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at 15:44



The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region has announced that hospital services in Big River will be temporarily discontinued as of July 29th.


The health region says, to date, it has not been successful in finding even short-term replacements for the community’s two physicians — who announced last month that they would be leaving.


The health authority says the Big River Health Centre cannot operate as a hospital without physician coverage.


Health region board chair Ray Ewanchuk admits to being troubled by the fact they couldn’t find short-term help.


He says summer is a tough time to find replacements because of holidays, and notes the health region can’t force doctors to report to the community.


Ewanchuk says, unfortunately, doctor shortages are becoming all too common in rural and remote regions of Canada.


He’s hopeful physician services will be restored in the latter part of August, but can’t provide any guarantees.


Other staff at the facility are being encouraged to use vacation time in the interim. The only exception is the long-term care wing of the hospital, which will be unaffected.


Ambulance service will continue to be provided in the region. Emergency cases will be transported to hospitals in either Shellbrook or Prince Albert.


The doctor shortage will be discussed at the health region’s regular meeting July 27th in Big River. The public is encouraged to attend.


The Big River First Nation is one of the communities that stands to be affected by the temporary closure of the hospital.