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North Island emergency rooms continue to face overnight closures

Island Health is working on recruitment and strategies to secure additional nursing coverage
Black Press Media file

More nights without emergency room service are coming for a pair of North Island communities.

Island Health has announced that due to limited nurse availability the temporary overnight closure of the Cormorant Island Community Health Centre (CICHC) emergency department is being extended to Oct. 31. The temporary closure is in effect from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Meanwhile Port Hardy Hospital’s emergency room has also been temporarily closed overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting Friday, Oct. 14 and will continue until the morning of Friday, Oct. 21 due to limited physician availability.

“Island Health continues to work diligently on recruitment and strategies to secure additional nursing coverage, with the goal of resuming 24/7 ED services at the CICHC as quickly as possible,” the organization stated in a news release. “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.”

Alert Bay mayor Dennis Buchanan stated he is “certainly disappointed that the emergency room is being shut down again for an extended period of time, but again, there’s a shortage of nurses and it’s not only affecting Alert Bay, it’s also affecting Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and the entire Vancouver Island.”

The temporary overnight closure has continuously been in place since August, and Buchanan noted this is a big issue that his new council will be tackling over the next four-year term.

Island Health stated that anyone experiencing a medical emergency 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.

Anyone experiencing a medical emergency while the ED is closed should call 911. Do not go to the ER during the hours it is closed, as this will delay your access to care.


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