Island Health is warning residents that the emergency department at the Port Hardy Hospital will be closed on Christmas Eve.
The emergency department at PHH is currently only staffed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
On Dec. 24, however, the emergency department will be closed all day due to a staff shortage, according to Island Health.
Its regular 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours will return on Christmas Day.
“Anyone experiencing a medical emergency while the ED is closed should call 911 or, if possible, proceed to Port McNeill Hospital ED,” said Island Health in a release Saturday.
“Do not go to the ED during the hours it is closed, as this will delay your access to care,” said the health authority.
Island Health says it has protocols in place, alongside BC Emergency Health Services, to provide care and transportation for people who call 911 with medical emergencies while the emergency department is closed.
The health authority adds that all other inpatient services at the Port Hardy Hospital will run as usual on Christmas Eve.
“Island Health acknowledges this is not an ideal situation for the community and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience experienced by this temporary service interruption,” said Island Health.
In January, the B.C. government promised $30 million to help stabilize health-care in the North Island, where communities often face unpredictable hospital closures due to staffing shortages.