Team play wins for health care in Clearwater

December 21, 2022

(PHOTO CREDIT – Kalen Jones) Clearwater leaders got together last summer to celebrate the resilience of their physicians. Front row (L-R):  Past Mayor John Harwood, Coun. Shelley Sim; Dr. Sandra Okezue; MP Frank Caputo; Yellowhead Community Services Vice Chair Shirley Frost; Coun. Barry Banford; Coun Lucy Taylor; Medical student Anmol Mattu; and Dr. Kayode Bamigboje; Back row (L-R):  CAO John Thomas; Obi Okezue; regional district director Carol Schaffer; Mayor Merlin Blackwell and Coun. Bill Haring.

Between April and September 2022, Clearwater hospital was forced to close its emergency department almost 60 times due to emergency department RN staffing vacancies.

But instead of finger pointing, people from multiple agencies talked together about how they could make a difference. And then they went to work.

Interior Health, the District of Clearwater, individual health administrators, Clearwater mayor and council, community residents, hospital nursing and non-nursing staff, physicians, the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice and the B.C. Nurses Union worked to find solutions to a complex problem.

The end result – no closures since early September.

Mayor Merlin Blackwell is proud of the united effort that went in to supporting Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital and its emergency department.

“All of us are acting as recruiters and promoters of the community,” he said.

The mayor spoke about the Clearwater situation to his peers at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, saying he believes the key was getting to know the people in the health-care system so conversations in a spirit of trust could take place.


Read related stories

9 Minute Read
Community & Culture

Content warning: residential schools, death. The information and material presented here may cause unpleasant feelings or thoughts for some people…

4 Minute Read
Community & Culture

Name: Dr. Reena Baweja (she/her/hers)Job Title: NeurosurgeonYears of Service: 2Worksite: Royal Inland Hospital Community: KamloopsAncestral…

2 Minute Read
Community & Culture

Name: Shannon Campbell (she/her/hers)Job Title: Manager, Workplace Safety StrategyYears of Service: 31Worksite: Community Health Services Centre …

5 Minute Read
Community & Culture

In 2021, 263 paper medical charts were shipped to East Kootenay Regional Hospital where they were placed in the basement. The charts belonged to…

3 Minute Read
Community & Culture

Name: Elaine Prud’homme (she/her/hers)Job Title: Youth Substance Use Connections DASW (Discipline Allied with Social Work)Years of Service: …

3 Minute Read
Community & Culture

Name: Stephanie Guss (she/her/hers)Job Title: Rehabilitation AssistantYears of Service:  11Worksite:  Kelowna General HospitalCommunity: …


Receive news and alert posts, and Stories@IH blog posts, right to your inbox!