June 26th, 2019

Locking Bow Island Health Centre doors at 5 p.m. a ‘foolish decision’

By Letter to the Editor on October 11, 2018.

I have been hearing about the locking of the doors at the Bow Island Health Centre for some time now. As a physician who had practised in Bow Island for more than 30 years, I was a little surprised at the decision as it seemed totally counter intuitive to any common sense.

As I have talked to staff who work there, and getting the answer from those in authority that it was a safety issue, I felt it was time to raise my voice in protest to a foolish administrative decision, on multiple levels.

1. What emergency department or hospital locks its doors at 5 p.m., often just before the busiest time of the day? Evenings are often when emergencies come in, and this defies logic. Having a locked door will only increase the anxiety of those with a serious problem.

2. With doors locked, staff who are on a much higher pay scale, must stop what they are doing and go unlock the doors, then try to resume the task that was stopped. This seems more than a little unsafe, as well as financially foolish. By the way, this means staff must stop work and open the door to any visitors as well as for any emergency patients.

3. Why would administration give the excuse that this is a safety issue, when it is an administrative issue? Is locking an emergency door safe? When the new emergency wing was built, the regional authorities acknowledged that this would mean the need for extra staffing. Are these promises no longer valid?

4. In a time where all worry about the hospital and keeping it open, is it an intelligent decision to starting closing the access to the facility? Why take a step in the wrong direction? The bottom line is that this was a foolish decision, and there are other options. Administration, both local and regional, should admit the mistake and correct the problem. If they persist in this decision, then it is time to turn up some political heat. It is time to listen to the hospital staff and the community.

Dr. Lynn Edwards

Bow Island, Alta.

(The writer is a retired family physician.)

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