Nurses expect more ER closures

There could be more closures at the emergency department in King's County Memorial Hospital in Montague, says the P.E.I. Nurses Union.

There could be more closures at the emergency department in King's County Memorial Hospital in Montague, says the P.E.I. Nurses Union.

The province needs to hire more nurses, says union president Mona O'Shea. (CBC)

The ER in Montague has closed early two days this summer due to nursing shortages. The union said the province needs to hire more nurses.

"The government needs to look at the complement of the registered nurses down there. They probably need to recruit," said union president Mona O'Shea.

"I would suggest definitely a few more registered nurses in order to be able to run the ER department and the whole hospital to the level of care that our Islanders are used to and deserve."

O'Shea said emergency department closures have been an on-going issue at the hospital. In the summer it's particularly difficult to fill shifts between vacations and sick days.

But Health PEI said the problem isn't a lack of recruitment, it's a lack of nurses. The agency said it's doing what it can to fill the vacancies, including one full-time RN vacancy at the hospital in Montague.

"We'll be doing everything that we can to ensure we don't have another closure, including continuing to look at our casual pool, our part-time staff, and look throughout the system as well to see if there's some people that can come and support KCMH in the emergency department," said Deborah Bradley, Health PEI's executive director of community hospitals.

Bradley said the agency has been aggressively recruiting RNs across the province,

"And we'll continue to do that. We were very fortunate we placed 93 per cent of the graduates of nursing at UPEI with Health PEI, so that's very positive."