DAWSON CREEK -- There are renewed calls for BC’s Health Minister to call for an independent audit of Northern Health after the health authority advised residents in Tumbler Ridge of yet another hospital diversion.

It is the second time in 3 weeks that residents have been told they will need to go somewhere else for emergency care.

The diversions are becoming more frequent in the Peace Region. They are due to the on-going nursing shortage at the facility and across Northern B.C.

2 years ago, Adrian Dix agreed to an independent audit of Northern Health on a phone call with local politicians. Dix has since backtracked on that pledge.

Dix said in 2021 that before an audit was called, he would like to see interim measures taken to improve the situation concerning hiring, retention and staff morale.

However since then, the number of all front line healthcare jobs in Northern Health that are unfilled has grown to 20 percent. Since Dix called for the iterim measures,the staffing shortages have only gotten worse.

The MLA for Peace River South says he is tired of the all the talking from the province and that things need to change.

“It's been an unfortunate situation that almost two years ago the Minister of Health, after calls from myself, Dan Davies and other local politicians who were frustrated with the health system, that we are still in the same spot here the Peace Region,” said Mike Bernier.

Bernier says there needs to be an external audit of Northern Health to figure out how to fix the broken healthcare system.

“The Minister of Health, at the time said he thought he agreed with that. He's since backtracked and said, you know, maybe we should look at other things to fix the situation. Well, that was two years ago. We are now in a situation where I'm told we have almost 48 vacancies in the Peace Region for nurses alone.”

Northern Health is telling residents that without proper nursing levels, patients needing emergency care will be transported to the closest available facility. Anyone having an emergency should still call 9-1-1.