A nursing shortage closed the emergency room at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital for 12 hours with Island Health directing patients to Victoria General or Royal Jubilee hospitals. (Black Press Media file photo)

Island Health apologizes after nursing shortage closes hospital ER for 12 hours

Shortage of registered nurses caused temporary emergency room closure at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

  • Aug. 24, 2021 12:00 a.m.

A spokesperson for Island Health said the absence of two registered nurses led to the temporary closure of the emergency room at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital on the weekend.

“I can confirm that baseline staffing for the emergency department is four RNs,” said Andrew Leyne. “Overnight on Saturday we were short two RNs. Unfortunately, diversions occur from time to time due to a variety of factors, including staff illness.”

The temporary closure meant the hospital’s ER did not accept new patients between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

“Please go to Victoria General Hospital or Royal Jubilee Hospital if you require emergency services,” read a tweet sent out Saturday evening by Island Health. “(We) try our very best to cover shifts but there are times, despite these efforts, that these temporary shortages occur.”

It is not clear how many patients had to receive care in the emergency departments at Victoria General or Royal Jubilee hospitals because of the closure.

In the tweet, Island Health acknowledged the impact this may have had on residents and apologized.

RELATED: Nursing shortage closes Saanich Peninsula Hospital ER for 12 hours

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Nanaimo News Bulletin