Saint-Quentin emergency services restricted to urgent cases overnight until end of July

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The emergency department at the Saint-Quentin hospital will be closed overnight to all but the most urgent of cases until July 31. (CBC - image credit)
The emergency department at the Saint-Quentin hospital will be closed overnight to all but the most urgent of cases until July 31. (CBC - image credit)

Starting Friday, the emergency department at the Saint-Quentin hospital will be closed overnight to all but the most urgent of cases.

Physician shortages and summer vacations are responsible for the service changes at Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin, according to a news release from the Vitalité Health Network.

Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. every night until July 31, staff will only treat cases that correspond to triage levels 1, 2 and 3.

Level 1 represents cases where resuscitation is necessary for conditions such as heart attack or major trauma. Level 2 is considered "very urgent" and would include severe respiratory distress. Level 3 is "urgent" and includes things such as  digestive hemorrhages and open fractures.

All other patients will have to go to "neighbouring facilities or come back during the day" between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., says the news release.

"This will allow the teams to ensure a medical presence on site and maintain continuity of services and care for urgent conditions."

The release says summers are always a challenge "due to the well deserved vacations of staff and physicians."

Dr. Natalie Banville, vice-president of medical affairs for Vitalité, said the priority is to maintain "quality health care and services for the entire population."

The release alluded to other possible changes over the summer and promised that Vitalité officials would alert the Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions about changes as they arise.

"Recruiting efforts continue. The Network is optimistic that it will be able to fill vacant positions as a result of the current and upcoming recruiting campaigns," stated the news release.

"Just like the people of New Brunswick, the Network, staff and physicians want to return to normal as soon as possible."

Banville also thanked neighbouring health centres "that will manage all the other patients as well as the population of Restigouche West and the community of Saint-Quentin in particular for their understanding and collaboration in this exceptional situation."

A spokesperson for Vitalité did not respond to a request for an interview Thursday afternoon.

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