The Altona Community Memorial Health Centre says some of its emergency department services will be unavailable until the fall due to a staffing shortage.
The services will be unavailable beginning April 1, but a resolution date was not given.
A letter to residents on the Southern Health region’s website says they are “working to stabilize and add to the nursing workforce” after vacancy rates have increased over the past several years, and even more during the pandemic.
“This has placed increased pressures on services in the emergency department, sometimes resulting in intermittent and unexpected service disruptions,” the letter says.
Global News has reached out to the health centre about exactly which services will be unavailable.
Outpatient services will continue to be scheduled, including lab work, minor procedures and wound care and details are being finalized for urgent care services to be temporarily set up within the emergency department.
The centre will work with Emergency Response Services while it attempts to fill vacancies.
It also insists the changes will not affect hospital in-patient services and that access to primary care services will continue.
The letter states it’s a constant battle in rural communities throughout the province and the country to recruit clinical staff.
“The challenge is being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has required resources to support testing and immunization clinics, and significantly reduced our ability to recruit recent and upcoming nursing graduates into open positions,” the letter says.
People requiring high acuity care are being directed to other locations such as Boundary Trails Health Centre in the Morden-Winkler area and Morris General Hospital — both are roughly 40 kilometers from Altona.