‘Staffing problem’ closes Vancouver Island hospital emergency room overnight

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VANCOUVER – A Vancouver Island hospital closed its emergency department to new patients on Saturday night due to a “staffing issue.”

Island Health said in a Facebook post at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday that the Saanich Peninsula Hospital would not be accepting new patients until 7 a.m. Sunday.

The health authority did not say what the “staff problem” caused the closure, but hospitals in the province are struggling with a shortage of nurses and other medical staff.

Stress exhaustion from being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem across British Columbia, but Island Health gave no indication that the Saanich Peninsula-specific problem was linked to the pandemic.

“Anyone needing emergency treatment should go to the emergency room at Victoria General Hospital or Royal Jubilee Hospital,” the health authority said in its message. “Peninsula residents in need of emergency health care should call 911 to be transported to the most appropriate and available facility. “

Island Health advised patients who were unsure whether their condition would warrant an emergency room visit to call 811 or visit the HealthLinkBC website.

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