Port Hardy ER closed for remainder of Wednesday due to nurse shortage: Island Health

Port Hardy ER closed for remainder of Wednesday due to nurse shortage: Island Health

The Port Hardy Hospital emergency department (PHH ED) is temporarily closed for the remainder of today, Wednesday, Aug. 16, due to a shortage of nurses, according to Island Health.

Around 1:30 p.m., the health authority said short notice, unexpected sick calls from staff had led to an immediate closure, though all other inpatient services will operate as normal at PHH and the long-term care home next door.

The ED is expected to reopen at 7 a.m. Thursday.

In the meantime, Island Health says anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or, if possible, go to the Port McNeill Hospital ED. It says staff will be outside PHH ED redirecting patients for the remainder of Wednesday.

“Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure people calling 911 are transported to the appropriate site,” reads a notice.

Island Health says people can also get confidential health information and advice from a registered nurse toll-free, 24/7, by calling HealthLinkBC at 811. First Nations communities have access to the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day service, available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily by calling 1-855-344-3800.

Ongoing closures

North Island hospital EDs in Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Alert Bay have already been plagued by closures. Last year, a doctor travelled to Port Hardy to keep its hospital ED open, but the department closed anyways due to a lack of nurses.

These ongoing closures fueled rallies, including in March when about 300 people filled a North Island school gym to vent about the state of local health care.


“I’ve been here for 63 years,” one woman told CHEK News. “My family developed Port Hardy, and if they were still alive now, they would be throwing up because the government is supposed to work for us, not the other way around.”

Island Health even formed a task force to address the crisis.

On Jan. 27, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced $30 million to stabilize health care to keep North Island EDs and other health-care services open regularly and consistently.

Dix said local hospitals would operate on consistent schedules, including in Port Hardy, where ED services would be available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

But that’s not the case today.

“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,” the health authority adds in its notice.

SEE APRIL 21 STORY: Port Hardy emergency department to close for first time since province’s $30 million investment

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!