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Island Health announces more North Island emergency department closures

Port McNeill Hospital’s emergency department will remain open 24/7 during both of these closures
Port McNeill Hospital will be open 24/7 during the closures. (North Island Gazette file photo)

Due to limited staff availability, Island Health has advised that the Port Hardy Hospital (PHH) emergency department will be closed overnights from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. beginning the evening of Dec. 15 through to the morning of Dec. 19.

PHH will remain open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day during the overnight closure.

Dr. Alex Nataros confirmed PHH has enough medical doctors, but the issue is they simply don’t have the nursing staff needed to run the emergency department.

“We have a critical need for nurses,” he said when asked to comment further, explaining that a lack of affordable accommodation in Port Hardy is one of the key issues that’s stopping registered nurses from moving to the North Island.

Meanwhile, Port Hardy isn’t the only hospital in the Mount Waddington region that’s having to close its emergency department.

Cormorant Island Community Health Centre (CICHC) emergency department will also be closed 24 hours per day beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 through to the morning of Jan. 3, 2023. CICHC emergency department will re-open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2023.

Port McNeill Hospital’s emergency department will remain open 24/7 during both of these closures, unless otherwise announced.

“Anyone experiencing a medical emergency while the ED is closed should call 911 or proceed to Port McNeill Hospital ED,” stated Island Health. “Do not go to an ED during the hours it is closed, as this will delay your access to care. Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure patients calling 911 are transported to an appropriate alternate site.”

If you are unsure if you are experiencing a medical situation requiring a visit to an emergency department, confidential health information and advice from a registered nurse is available toll free, 24/7 by calling HealthLink BC at 811.

First Nations communities and individuals can also access the First Nations Health Authority’s First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Indigenous people and their family members can access the program to address their health and wellness needs. Please call 1-855-344-3800 to book an appointment.

Island Health acknowledged this is not an ideal situation for the communities “and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience experienced by this temporary service interruption.”


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Tyson Whitney

About the Author: Tyson Whitney

I have been working in the community newspaper business for nearly a decade, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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