UBC Hospital emergency department temporarily shortens hours to get staff home on time

The UBC Hospital's emergency department will temporarily operate with reduced hours beginning Aug. 16, 2022, Vancouver Coastal Health revealed on Aug. 15, 2022. Global News

The emergency department at Vancouver’s UBC Hospital is temporarily shortening its hours to allow staff and physicians to finish their shifts on time.

Effective Tuesday, patients will be received between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., rather than 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., enabling Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to assess emergency physician coverage in acute care sites across the city, and ensure consistent service, it said in a Monday news release.

The health authority does not yet know when regular operating hours will resume.

“We hope to resume regular operating hours at UBC Hospital ED as quickly as possible and work is underway to identify interim and long-term options for managing patient volumes,” it wrote in a Tuesday morning statement.

Read more: Concerns raised over string of temporary ER closures at rural B.C. hospitals

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According to Dr. Ladan Sadrehashemi, increasing patient volumes — especially at the end of the day — have kept many staff “routinely” working into the early hours of the morning.

“The uncertainty of not knowing the last shift end time is creating burnout and loss of medical and other staff within the ED healthcare team, and is not sustainable,” the senior medical director of acute care in Vancouver for VCH explained.

Once the reduced hours take effect, anyone in need of urgent care after 8 p.m. is asked to seek treatment from other local sites, including the Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital or BC Children’s Hospital emergency departments.

The temporary adjustments will not impact BC Emergency Health Services, which will continue to provide patient transports to the UBC Hospital emergency department until 6 p.m., the health authority added.

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