Patient advocacy by rural emergency physicians after major service cuts: the case of Nelson, BC

Efforts at cost containment through regionalization have led to reduced services in several rural emergency departments (EDs) in Canada. As a result, questions have been raised about patient safety and equitable access to care, compelling physicians to advocate for their patients. Few published reports on physicians’ advocacy experiences pertaining to rural EDs exist. We describe our experience of patient advocacy after major service cuts at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, BC. Despite mixed results, we suggest increased physician involvement in patient advocacy.

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