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Lack of staff forces Saanich, B.C., hospital to close ER overnight for two months

July 7, 2023
The Canadian Press

Photo: Birkus-Viktor/Istock/Getty Images Plus

Island Health says a lack of staff has forced it to begin overnight closures of the emergency room at a small Victoria-area hospital.

A statement from the health authority says closure of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital emergency department begins at 10 p.m. tonight and will end at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The statement says the closures will continue every night until Sept. 4 at the 85-bed hospital just south of Sidney.

The health authority says the closures will ensure doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and medical imaging staff are available during the day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. when demand for emergency services peaks.


Estimates from Island Health show an average of 11 people visit the Saanich Peninsula emergency room overnight and two people arrive by ambulance.

During the overnight closures, ambulances will be diverted to Royal Jubilee Hospital or Victoria General Hospital, both about 20 kilometres south, in Victoria.

Marko Peljhan, Island Health vice-president of clinical services for central and southern Vancouver Island says no other in-patient services at the hospital will be affected.

“We acknowledge this is not an ideal situation for the community and we sincerely apologize for this temporary service reduction,” Peljhan says in the statement.

Staffing shortages are linked to recent temporary closures of many smaller or rural emergency rooms or health clinics, from Port Hardy and Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island to Clearwater in the southern Interior, Chetwynd and Mackenzie in the north and New Denver and Creston in the southeast.

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