Reduced hours, long waits expected for some N.B. emergency departments

·1 min read
The emergency department at Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin has reduced hours for non-urgent cases. (Google Maps - image credit)
The emergency department at Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin has reduced hours for non-urgent cases. (Google Maps - image credit)

A staffing shortage is causing the Vitalité Health Network to make adjustments to emergency department hours, while the Horizon Health Network warns of long waits for non-urgent patients.

The emergency department at Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin has reduced hours for non-urgent cases, said the Vitalité Health Network in a statement.

Until July 31, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. AT, only patients requiring urgent care will be treated.

Urgent cases include triage levels 1, 2 and 3:

  1. Resuscitation, including a heart attack or major trauma.

  2. Very urgent, including severe respiratory distress.

  3. Urgent, digestive hemorrhage, open fracture.

Patients who don't have urgent symptoms will need to either wait to receive care during the day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or find alternative care.

Vitalité said the change comes as staff and physicians take their summer vacations.

It said it is working to recruit staff and is confident it will fill all positions with current and upcoming recruiting campaigns.

Summer plan

Vitalité said it could suspend or temporarily reduce services in order to reassign staff to departments deemed a priority.

It said it plans to hire almost 200 students as patient care attendants for additional support.

Long waits this weekend

The Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital emergency department in Fredericton is also facing a doctor shortage this weekend.

The Horizon Health Network is asking people with non-urgent symptoms to avoid the emergency department as much as possible, by using alternative options, including an after-hours clinic, the Tele-Care 811 line, by calling a pharmacist or booking a virtual appointment through eVisitNB.

Horizon said the sickest and most vulnerable patients will be prioritized and patients with non-urgent medical issues can expect long waits.

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