Elk Point emergency department sees temporary night closure
A shortage of staff resulted in temporary closures for the Elk Point Healthcare Centre emergency department over the holiday season, according to Alberta Health Services (AHS).
The emergency department was closed overnight from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2, due to a lack of staff coverage, according to a public service announcement from AHS.
Kerry Williamson, a spokesperson with AHS, confirmed the temporary closure of the emergency department was “just a staffing problem” and that the facility did not have enough staff to keep the hospital open overnight.
He explained that a lack of staff is an issue that faces many rural hospitals in Alberta, especially in the north part of the province where there are small towns covering large physical areas, adding of the closure, “It’s unfortunate.”
The emergency department remained fully operational during the day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, in the evenings, people needing urgent medical treatment were urged to call 911. AHS emergency medical services were prepared to transport patients to nearby facilities during the service interruption.
“We anticipate the emergency department will return to normal service by Jan. 2, 2013. Long-term care, laboratory and x-ray services will remain open,” according to the PSA.
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