Regina's health region has found a way of keeping the Pasqua Hospital emergency room open 24 hoursa day, at least through the end of this year.

The department had been scheduled to close during the overnight hours as of last Thursday because of a shortage of doctors, but an eleventh hour deal was worked out allowing it to stay open.

The closure would have meant handling all nighttime emergency cases in the Regina General hospital's E.R. for a period of three months.

Now, one week later, the government says it has found enough fill-in doctors to keep the emergency room open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the end of December.

"It is a great relief to everyone to know that emergency health care needs will continue to be addressed at both Regina emergency departments on a 24 hour basis over the holiday period," said David McCutcheon, vice president Physician and Integrated Health Services in a news release.

"The assistance of additional locums, and our continued work with the government to define the parameters of a trauma program to help ease the workload of our emergency department physicians in future, have been immensely helpful in supporting physicians in their ongoing commitment to patients and the region," McCutcheon said. 

The health region is still trying to recruit more full time doctors for the city's two emergency rooms so that both will be covered at night in the new year.

Officials say they have seen a drop in the number of patients seeking care at the Pasqua ER since the doctor shortage was announced last month. 

Officials continue to encourage people to use other resources when dealing with a non-urgent health issues. The region is encouraging walk-in clinics to stay open longer hours if possible as well.

"People can also help themselves stay healthy over the holidays by getting a flu shot, ensuring good hand hygiene, and ensuring their holiday feasts are properly cooked and stored," McCutcheon advised. 

Services for less-urgent needs 

Family Physicians: can provide a number of care needs, including orders for blood work, prescriptions and help with illnesses. People can find doctors who are taking patients on the region's website. 

Meadow Primary Health Care Centre:  address immediate care needs including illnesses, minor injuries and cuts, dressing changes, and prescriptions. Will have extended hours from 9 a.m. to midnight until the end of the month. Located at 4006 Dewdney Avenue.  

Walk-in clinics: located throughout the city with varying hours. Many of these clinics can address needs that are similar to the Meadow Primary Health Care Centre. People can check here for a list of clinics on the regions website.