Horizon warns of ER nurse shortage at Saint John hospital this weekend

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Horizon Health Network is warning that people whose medical needs aren't urgent may face long waits this weekend at the Saint John Regional Hospital. (Wikipedia - image credit)
Horizon Health Network is warning that people whose medical needs aren't urgent may face long waits this weekend at the Saint John Regional Hospital. (Wikipedia - image credit)

Horizon Health Network is warning the public to expect longer wait times at the Saint John Regional Hospital's emergency department this weekend as it grapples with a nurse shortage.

"While this is not necessarily a new situation, it has become more significant," Geri Geldart, vice-president clinical services with Horizon, said in an email statement Friday.

"As a result, the [emergency department] team may need to adjust the use of their treatment locations within the department, which may result in longer wait times for patients presenting with less acute medical needs."

The emergency room will still be able to provide emergency and urgent care.

But people with less urgent problems are encouraged to contact their primary car provider or visit sowhywait.ca to explore other options such as visiting an after-hours clinic, calling Tele-Care 811 or consulting a pharmacist, Geldart said.

Horizon did not make anyone available for an interview Friday and referred CBC News to Geldart's statement when asked for more information about the shortage.

Last weekend, Vitalité Health Network had to divert ambulances from the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre to the Moncton Hospital because of a nurse shortage there.