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Saanich Peninsula Hospital may see overnight ER waits due to staffing challenges

Island Health warned non urgent ER patients may have to wait longer between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Island Health says staffing challenges at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital may result in altered overnight emergency department operations, and patients may experience longer than normal waits. (Black Press Media file photo)

Island Health is advising residents they may see increased emergency room waits overnight at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

In a release published Saturday (May 20), the health authority said the hospital is experiencing staffing issues heading into the summer which may require changes to overnight emergency care.

Island Health said when there are limited staff available, doctors will be rescheduled for daytime shifts in order to provide care when the emergency department is at its busiest, and this could lead to longer than normal overnight wait times between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

According to the release, the hospital’s ER sees an average of 8.5 patients during those hours each day.

Emergency care will still be provided to those who need it, however non-urgent patients visiting overnight may see longer waits, and will be given the option to go home and return to the ER the following morning. The on call overnight physician will only support patients with serious medical need during those hours.

Inpatient care at the hospital is not impacted by these changes.

Island Health says people in need of emergency medical care should continue to cal 911 or attend the nearest emergency department. If you are unsure if you require emergency medical care, HealthLink BC is available toll free 24/7 at 811.

“Island Health prepares contingency plans, including partners at BC Emergency Health Services, for when unexpected situations occur. 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,” read the release.

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