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Staff shortage causes Port McNeill Hospital to ‘close’ for the weekend

Island Health says it is continuing to actively recruit to fill nursing vacancies in the region
Port McNeill Hospital. (North Island Gazette file photo)

Lack of staff means Port McNeill hospital will not be accepting any new patients this weekend.

“Due to limited staff availability in the Mt. Waddington region and in order to maintain safe patient care, Island Health is advising community residents and visitors to the area that the Port McNeill Hospital (PMH) emergency department will be closed from 7 a.m. on May 13 until 7 a.m. on May 16,” said Island Health in a statement to media.

During this timeframe, no new patients will be admitted to PMH.

“Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or, if possible, proceed to Port Hardy Hospital. Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure patients are transported to the appropriate site.”

The statement says anyone unsure if they are experiencing a medical situation requiring a visit to an emergency department, can speak to a registered nurse toll free, 24/7 by calling HealthLink BC at 811.

“Island Health continues to actively recruit to fill nursing vacancies in the region, including working with partners to utilize many levers to increase staffing levels in the interim,” the release states.

“The staffing challenges experienced on the north island are not unique to that region, or even Island Health. There is a national shortage of health care providers, affecting all provider groups including nursing. The effects of this national issue are amplified in rural and smaller programs and sites where baseline staffing numbers are lower.”

Island Health added it acknowledges this is not an ideal situation for the community and apologized for any inconvenience.

RELATED: Island Health apologizes after nursing shortage closes hospital ER for 12 hours

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