Residents who experience a health emergency in Broadview will have to call 911 as the community's hospital has temporarily closed its emergency room and acute care facilities due to staffing shortages.
On Sept. 12 the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced it would be closing the facilities for an undetermined period of time due to "the inability to provide reliable and consistent lab/diagnostic and physician services at the Broadview Union Hospital."
The hospital was supposed to re-open the two departments on Monday morning, but that won't be happening. Jacqui Kennett-Peppler, a primary health care director with the SHA, said there is a shortage of lab technicians across Saskatchewan.
"We are having a difficult time recruiting to Broadview," she said. "We have continued recruitment right now to try and find permanent staff for that area. It's always a little bit more difficult to recruit to smaller communities as well."
Kennett-Peppler said the SHA has been working with the Broadview community foundation to come up with incentives to recruit employees to the area.
While she didn't have specifics on what incentives the foundation is working on, she said they could take the form of support for housing or "community connections" within Broadview to make the area attractive to potential employees.
She also noted the SHA is working to recruit a physician to the community, as one of the community's three doctors recently submitted their resignation.
Broadview's mayor, Carol Mills, says the closure of the hospital has been a concern for many of her residents as the closure has meant more travel time and expenses for those who need medical care.
"They're very upset," she said. "It's an aging community and they have to depend on this hospital for medical treatment, or whatever may happen to them, and now they have to go to another town."
Mills said she's heard from constituents who have missed appointments for blood work as a result of the closure. She said some members of the community are willing to accept the closures and go with the flow, while others are angry.
"A lot of them don't drive so how do they get there? It's an extra expense to get there, so they're very upset," she said.
Kennett-Peppler said they're encouraging Broadview residents to use the clinics in the community, noting they still have access to emergency and acute care in nearby communities like Kipling and Moosomin. She said residents should call 911 in case of an emergency, at which time EMS will be dispatched.
There's no timeline in place for when the departments will reopen, but the closure is not permanent.
"Once we get past this shortage, we're committed to restoring that access," Kennett-Peppler said.