Reduced hours continue at 2 Island health-care centres
Limited staff availability has led to the further reduction of services at one Vancouver Island health-care facility and the extension of overnight closures at another.
Island Health announced Friday that overnight closures of the emergency department at the Cormorant Island Community Health Centre in Alert Bay would be extended until Oct. 17.
On Thursday, the health authority announced a schedule for closures and hours reductions in urgent care at the Chemainus Health Care Centre throughout the month of October.
Both facilities have been operating on reduced hours for months. Island Health first scaled back the Chemainus facility's hours in May, and overnight closures at Cormorant Island began in July.
Initially, the Alert Bay facility – which had previously been open for emergency services 24 hours a day – was scheduled to close from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily for two weeks.
The closures were later extended through the end of August, then to mid-September, then through the end of September, and now through mid-October.
Anyone experiencing a medical emergency in Alert Bay while the emergency department is closed should call 911, Island Health said, adding that it has "protocols in place to ensure patients are transported to an appropriate alternate site."
"Island Health, like all health authorities in B.C. and across Canada, is extremely challenged by the health workforce shortage," the health authority said in a statement.
"At this time, Island Health does not have enough nursing staff in the region to maintain safe, consistent 24/7 ED services at the CICHC. This is being done to ensure the safety of patients. You must have a minimum level of staff in order for patients to be safe."
The health authority said it is working "diligently" on recruiting nurses, with the goal of resuming 24-hour service "as quickly as possible."
Meanwhile, in Chemainus, it is "limited physician availability" that is causing service reductions.
While laboratory and medical imaging services at the facility remain open for their usual hours, Island Health released a detailed schedule for when urgent care will be available at Chemainus Health Care Centre in October.
When urgent care is not available at the facility, patients are advised to go to Ladysmith Community Health Centre or Cowichan District Hospital, which are 15 and 20 kilometres away, respectively.
"Island Health is continuing work to secure additional physician coverage for October, which may result in adjustments to CHCC urgent care hours of operation," the health authority said. "Residents and visitors to the area can call ahead to the CHCC for up-to-date information at 250-737-2040 ext. 42227 or check for updates on the Island Health website."
The schedule for urgent care availability released Thursday is as follows:
- Oct. 1 – Closed
- Oct. 2 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 3 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 4 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 5 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 6 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 7 – Closed
- Oct. 8 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 9 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 10 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 11 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 12 – Closed
- Oct. 13 – Closed
- Oct. 14 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 15 – Closed
- Oct. 16 – Closed
- Oct. 17 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 18 – Closed
- Oct. 19 – Closed
- Oct. 20 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 21 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 22 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 23 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 24 – Closed
- Oct. 25 – Closed
- Oct. 26 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 27 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 28 – Open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Oct. 29 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 30 – Open 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Oct. 31 – Closed
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