The Gray County Emergency Department is temporarily closing this weekend

Written by Javed Iqbal

An emergency department at a Gray County hospital is temporarily shutting down this weekend due to staff shortages.

South Bruce Gray Health Center (SBGHC) says the emergency department at its Durham location will be closed from 17.00 Saturday 6 August to 07.00 on Sunday 7 August and from 17.00 Sunday 7 August to 07.00 on Monday 8 August.

“All efforts to find staff for the emergency department have been unsuccessful,” the SBGHC wrote in a statement on its website.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we continue to experience significant staffing pressures. This is a temporary measure and we regret that this step has to be taken.”

The SBGHC said the cabinet emergency departments for the Durham hospital are:

  • Hannover (20 km)

  • Mount Forest (25 km)

  • Markdale (28 km)

  • Walkerton (28 km)

  • Chesley (36 km)

  • Owen Sound (46 km)

  • Palmerston (46 km)

The hospital network said it had previously identified possible risks of a reduction in services if staffing problems continued.

“SBGHC had identified that there was a risk of a future, time-limited reduction in service when the Chesley Emergency Department reopened last month if the health-human resources (HHR) situation worsened further,” SBGHC wrote.

SBGHC said anyone requiring immediate medical attention should call 911 to be taken to the nearest emergency department or contact Health Connect Ontario for non-urgent health care needs by calling 811.

In the past few months, emergency departments across the province have closed their doors due to a shortage of healthcare workers, with burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic often cited as a contributing factor.

Yesterday, Montfort Hospital in Ottawa’s east end announced that its emergency department will be temporarily closed overnight this weekend as the hospital deals with an “unprecedented shortage” of nurses.

Its emergency room will be closed Saturday and Sunday between 19.30 and 07.30. The temporary closure will remain in effect until Monday at 07.30

On Friday, unions representing 120,000 hospital workers renewed their calls for the provincial government to take immediate action to address the growing staffing crisis.

The unions are asking the province to repeal legislation that caps public sector wage increases at one per cent, implement new financial incentives to discourage retirement and invest in on-site supports such as childcare facilities.

Earlier this week, Ontario Health Executive Vice President Dr. Chris Simpson to CP24 that the lack of staff affecting hospitals has become a “crisis”.

Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week that Ontarians continue to have access to care when they need it, but reiterated calls for more financial support from the federal government to address the labor shortage.

With files from CTV News’ Josh Pringle

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Javed Iqbal

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