Port Hardy emergency department facing repeated closures this week due to physician shortage

Port Hardy emergency department facing repeated closures this week due to physician shortage

Island Health is advising of more temporary overnight closures at Port Hardy’s only emergency department and a shortage of physicians is to blame.

In a service notice, the health authority says the ER at Port Hardy Hospital will be temporarily closed overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting Tuesday, Oct. 11 to the morning of Friday, Oct. 14.

According to Island Health, the ER will be open each day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with all other inpatient services at the hospital continuing as normal during closures.

While acknowledging the situation is not ideal for the community, the health authority is apologizing for any inconvenience experienced by upcoming service interruptions.

“Island Health is taking action locally, working with our partners, to make the North Island an even more attractive place for health-care professionals to practice,” reads the notice.

“This includes adding more support staffing resources within our sites, expanding our retention and recruitment activities, enhancing our local leadership and educator teams and investing in infrastructure improvements.”

Emergency departments at hospitals throughout the North Island have faced repeated closures in recent months, including in Alert Bay, where the Cormorant Island Community Health Centre ER closure was extended to Oct. 17.

“There has been significant effort focused on recruitment and retention of doctors and other care providers, and this continues to be a key priority moving forward,” Island Health added.

Anyone experiencing a medical emergency during a closure should call 911 or, if possible, proceed to Port McNeill Hospital Emergency Department. 

“Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure patients who call 911 are transported to the appropriate site,” it said in its notice.

Those who are unsure if they’re experiencing a medical situation requiring a visit to an ER can access confidential health information and advice for a registered nurse toll-free, 24/7 by calling HealthLink BC at 811.


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