Ashcroft looks to speed up emergency times with new approach

With use of “virtual care” and urgent care drop-in centre, Ashcroft council hopes to speed up emergency care


By Kalvin Moses

Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden is implementing a new program to speed up emergency services following complaints from local residents over major delays.

The problem was highlighted by an incident last summer when an Ashcroft woman died after suffering a heart attack and waited for almost 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

“We decided at the council meeting that things needed to be changed,” Roden said.

With the new program, patients can drop in to the Ashcroft Urgent and Primary Care Centre where a team will handle non-life-threatening illness or injuries that are deemed to require attention within 12 to 24 hours, but not an emergency room visit. There will also be “virtual care hours” where people can discuss their symptoms with a doctor through a digital visit, to determine what kind of care they require.

For serious emergencies, an ambulance will be called and bring patients to the nearest hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

The main issue driving the slow response time for emergency services is limited staffing availability, Roden said. However, she said she is optimistic things will improve with the new program in place.

Many Ashcroft locals do not want to talk about the local woman’s death last year, but Ashcroft Coun. Jonah Anstett expressed confidence in the mayor’s ability to improve the situation.

“Barbara Roden is doing the best she can to make sure that this never happens again,” said Anstett.

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