Small Interior community's emergency department partially closed due to staffing challenges | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Small Interior community's emergency department partially closed due to staffing challenges

Clearwater’s emergency department is only open during business hours all weekend.

The service at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital was suspended for 14 hours last night, May 6, from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. today, according to an Interior Health press release.

It will be suspended during the same hours again starting tonight, May 7, as well as tomorrow, May 8.

The emergency department is supposed to be open 24 hours a day.

Interior Health says “unforeseen limited staffing availability” is the cause of the closures and “regrets this temporary change,” according to the release.

For any Clearwater patients who suffer a medical emergency outside of business hours this weekend, the next closest place for treatment will be the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

Nurses at Royal Inland Hospital are also coming forward to report a dangerous short staffing situation that occurred over the past weekend.

READ MORE: Severely low staff numbers at Kamloops hospital prompts walkout talks, pleas for help

Nurses have been reporting low staffing levels and consequent burnout throughout the pandemic, but the recent shortage situation appears to be a new low, and the general shortage is continuing.

Earlier this year, Interior Health reduced services at rural departments and redeployed employees at larger centres like Royal Inland Hospital to deal with the Omicron wave as hundreds of employees called in sick.

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