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Boundary Hospital ‘quite close’ to crisis after five month inpatient closure

Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks is approaching five months since its inpatient unit closed to admissions.

While other departments like home and community care, mental health, substance abuse and Hardy View Lodge have been able to hire staff, the same can’t be said for the hospital’s inpatient department.

In a statement to Vista Radio, Interior Health says there’s been no change since March with five of the six registered nursing (RN) positions vacant.

Everett Baker, the city’s Interior Health liaison, is getting concerned as winter approaches. He says, unlike other B.C. hospitals, patient transfers from Grand Forks have to travel through mountain passes.

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In some cases, doctors are now supporting nurses.

“I don’t know if we would consider it a crisis at this point but it’s quite close and my concern is how long can we sustain this at this point?” Baker told Vista Radio.

Baker says housing and child care are the big stumbling blocks to getting RNs and the city is doing what it can to help.

“Housing availability and child care availability continues to be high recruitment risks and so we as a city have continued to look for opportunities so we can provide housing for potential nursing staff,” he said.

He says they are fortunate the emergency room, lab, oncology and dialysis services continue to remain open at Boundary Hospital.

Baker says the province needs to address health care, which affects everyone, and “it’s not always throwing money at it, it might be the way we offer services.”

He plans to bring the issue up at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler next month.

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