Grand Forks elected officials are calling for urgent action from the province following news of the potential closure of the local hospital emergency room.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Boundary Services Committee met Wednesday to discuss the possible closure of the Boundary District Hospital ER.
“We are extremely concerned over the possibility of patients being forced to travel over the Paulson Pass to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail or the two-and-a-half hours to Kelowna to receive urgent care,” Electoral Area C director Grace McGregor said in a statement.
The meeting comes just days after a Grand Forks senior with a broken hip was left in intense pain for 59 hours, waiting for an ambulance to transport him to Trail for surgery.
The Grand Forks Gazette reported that Frank Duralia was originally admitted to the Boundary Hospital on the morning of Nov. 6. He was scheduled for surgery the same day at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital – but the surgery had to be cancelled when it became clear there was no ambulance able to take him there.
According to his daughter, Duralia was finally taken by an ambulance to Trail around noon Nov. 8, where he later underwent surgery.
While the Boundary Hospital serves over 9,000 residents in its catchment area, the facility’s inpatient beds have been closed since March 2022 due to a lack of nursing staff.
“We are putting immediate pressure on the Province of B.C. to address this threat to our facility and the impacts it could have on residents,” said McGregor, pointing specifically to Mayor Everette Baker for his vocal advocacy.
“The whole Boundary region joins him in this fight to keep our ER.”