New Brunswick

Doctor shortage forces overnight closure at Sackville ER

A doctor shortage at the Sackville Memorial Hospital will force the emergency room to close overnight Friday.

More er closures are possible before hours are permanently reduced on March 11

The emergency room at the Sackville Memorial Hospital will be closed overnight Friday due to a doctor shortage. (CBC News)

A doctor shortage at the Sackville Memorial Hospital will force the emergency room to close overnight Friday.

Patients will not be seen between 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release issued by Horizon Health Network Thursday morning.

And ambulances will be sent to nearby hospitals.

The closure comes on the heels of this week's government announcement that six New Brunswick communities will lose overnight emergency room services at their local hospitals, including Sackville Memorial Hospital.

Emergency room hours at six local hospitals will be cut and local hospital beds will be converted to long-term care beds. (CBC)

In the release, Horizon Health said this is the first time the emergency room has been forced to close because of a physician shortage. But it has come close at least one other time in the past few months.

"This is the first occasion where physician coverage could not be found," the release said.

In coming weeks there will be at least eight overnight shifts, where the local emergency room lacks physician coverage.

"If coverage is not found for these dates, the emergency department will again need to temporarily close," the health authority said.

Patients should travel to other hospitals

Horizon Health said all patients and clients requiring urgent medical care will have to travel to other hospitals  in Moncton or Amherst, N.S.  

Patients can also call 911 for medical emergencies or Tele-Care 811 regarding questions about the type of medical attention they need.

Reduced hours to all six emergency rooms start March 11.

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