Emergency room patients at Saanich Peninsula Hospital may experience longer waits in the months ahead amid overnight staffing shortages, according to Island Health.
The health authority says the hospital on Mount Newton X Road in Saanichton is “currently experiencing overnight staffing challenges,” meaning available physicians’ schedules may be adjusted to daytime hours because, typically, that’s when the ER is busiest.
If schedules change, Island Health says people visiting the ER with non-urgent medical needs between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. may experience longer waits or be given the option to go home and return in the morning.
“The physician on call will only support people with serious medical needs,” Island Health said in a news release Sunday, noting that, on average, 8.5 people visit the ER overnight.
“The physician on call will only support people with serious medical needs,” the authority said, adding that it “prepares contingency plans, including partners at BC Emergency Health Services, for when unexpected situations occur.”
It’s noted, however, that inpatient care in all other units at Saanich Peninsula Hospital is not affected by this temporary adjustment.
Island Health encourages people needing emergency care to call 911 or go to their nearest ER. It says people can also get confidential health information and advice from a registered nurse toll-free, 24/7, by calling HealthLink BC at 811.
“Thanks to our dedicated staff and medical staff pulling together, Saanich Peninsula Hospital emergency departments remain open and ready to provide emergency care for those who need it,” it added in the release.