Nurse shortage prompts weekend closure of Sackville hospital ER

·2 min read
The Sackville Memorial Hospital's ER will be closed all weekend due to a nurse shortage.  (Tori Weldon/CBC - image credit)
The Sackville Memorial Hospital's ER will be closed all weekend due to a nurse shortage. (Tori Weldon/CBC - image credit)

The Sackville Memorial Hospital's emergency department will be closed all weekend beginning Friday afternoon due to a shortage of nurses.

In a news release, Horizon Health Network said the closure would begin at 4 p.m. Friday and last until 8 a.m. on Monday.

"The Emergency Department will not be seeing patients and clients during temporary closures and ambulances will be diverted to other hospitals," Horizon said.

"All patients and clients requiring urgent medical care will need to seek treatment at another hospital."

In June, Horizon announced the hospital's emergency department would be closed during overnight hours on weekends for an indefinite period of time, also because of a shortage of nurses.

Earlier this month, the ER again had to be closed for an entire weekend for the same reason.

Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau said the latest closure leaves him concerned for residents of the town, who will now have to travel or be taken by ambulance to a hospital in Moncton.

Submitted/Shawn Mesheau
Submitted/Shawn Mesheau

"It's a continuation of what we've been seeing here in Sackville," he said. "It's concerning but at this point in time we know the struggles Horizon is having with filling vacancies."

New Brunswick Nurses Union president Paula Doucet has attributed the provincewide shortage partially to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for nurses to take time off after putting in overtime.

"I don't think we'll see an improvement in the immediate future, simply because nurses have continued to work large hours of overtime because of the pandemic, which we're still in," Doucet told CBC News earlier this month.

The staffing pinch has been felt in other areas of the province as well.

Earlier this month, the Upper River Valley Hospital, near Woodstock, closed its labour and birth unit for the weekend, with women directed to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton for all pregnancy-related services during that time.

Staff shortages also prompted Vitalité Health Network to announce temporary closures of the obstetrics and gynecology unit at Campbellton Regional Hospital.

It announced in mid-August that the unit would be temporarily closed for six to eight weeks in order to redirect staff to the hospital's emergency department.

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