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18-day overnight emergency department closure announced for Port Hardy Hospital

Port McNeill Hospital to remain open 24/7, unless otherwise announced as staffing shortages continue
Port Hardy Hospital will have no overnight emergency department for 18 days. (Island Health photo)

An 18-day overnight emergency department closure extending into the New Year has been announced for Port Hardy.

Island Health announced Dec. 22 that the Port Hardy Hospital (PHH) emergency department will be closed overnights from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. beginning Dec. 22 through to the morning of Jan. 9, 2023.

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

Port McNeill Hospital emergency department will remain open 24/7, unless otherwise announced. During this time of emergency department closure, all other inpatient services will continue as normal at PHH and the adjacent long-term care home.

“This service interruption is due to limited staff availability related to the ongoing health human resource challenges being experienced in many rural and remote regions of B.C. and Canada combined with decreased staff availability traditionally experienced during the holiday season,” said Island Health. “This closure will support Island Health to consolidate staffing to ensure consistent emergency department services during the day in Port Hardy and 24/7 in Port McNeill.”

Port Hardy mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt said council is “not happy about it, but we do appreciate knowing more than three hours in advance that they don’t have enough staff.”

Anyone experiencing a medical emergency while the emergency department is closed should call 911 or, if possible, proceed to Port McNeill Hospital emergency department. Do not go to the emergency department 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 community.

“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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