The Port Hardy Hospital emergency department will be closed during evening and overnight hours from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1 due to a temporary physician shortage.
“Despite tremendous efforts by local physicians and Vancouver Island Health Authority’s Mt. Waddington leadership team, locum physicians could not be secured to fill in gaps in the Port Hardy ER on-call physician schedule,” said Dr. Bob Burns, VIHA’s Executive Medical Director, Population and Community Health.
“The holiday season is an especially challenging time to find locum physicians. Just like members of any other professions, physicians also want and deserve time away during the holidays to spend time with their loved ones.”
Between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, a physician will be available at the Port Hardy ER during daytime and early evening hours, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. After 7:30 p.m., residents in need of emergency medical attention should call 911 or proceed to the Port McNeill ER which will be open and staffed 24/7.
Residents unsure of what type of health services they need can call Health Link BC at 811.
Registered nurses are available 24/7 to provide health care advice.
“We acknowledge that these temporary closures are not ideal and we apologize to residents,” said Burns.
“When representatives from VIHA, local governments, physicians and other stakeholders met last September, VIHA committed to making every effort to mitigate ED closures and we have been successful through to Dec. 22.
Unfortunately, these temporary closures during the coming holiday season are unavoidable.”
As Mt. Waddington residents may be aware, a Local Working Group (LWG) was established earlier this fall. The LWG is meeting regularly to develop a community-led plan aimed at strengthening and stabilizing health services in the Mt. Waddington region. The LWG anticipates presenting its recommendations to VIHA in March 2012.
VIHA and the LWG are committed to keeping residents informed throughout this collaborative process to stabilize and enhance health services in Mt. Waddington. For information on the LWG, including meeting agendas, minutes and membership, visit the VIHA website at: http://www.viha.ca/about_viha/community/mt_waddington.htm.