The emergency department at Western Hospital in Alberton is closed Sunday because there isn't a doctor available for phone consultation.

The closure covers 24 hours — from 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday. Anyone who needs emergency help should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

This is the first closure since the collaborative emergency centre opened in November.

The centre is staffed by a nurse and a paramedic who consult by telephone with a doctor. It was set up to to deal with a chronic problem of having to close the emergency department because there weren't enough doctors to staff it.

Health PEI officials say they hope Sunday's closure is an isolated incident.