One of Hamilton’s major hospital networks will close a city clinic on Christmas and New Year’s Day due to ongoing staffing shortages.
A spokesperson for Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) says the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Main Street West and Macklin Street will shut down for two days over the holidays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, to ensure emergency departments in the city’s hospitals can remain fully staffed.
“On the days the UCC is closed, UCC staff will be reassigned to McMaster Children’s Hospital to help their colleagues respond to the challenge of the ongoing pediatric surge,” said HHS’ Wendy Stewart in an e-mail.
The UCC closure on Christmas Day is not unusual, though typically the outlet closes due to low patient volumes.
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HHS has been battling bed shortages across the city since the beginning of the fall with McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) enduring the most difficult conditions, reporting occupancy rates of 130 per cent in mid-November within inpatient pediatric units.
The city’s two hospital networks, HHS and St. Joe’s, have battled capacity issues spurred on by a surge in viral illnesses such as COVID-19, RSV and the flu.
Executives with the MCH reported close to 200 kids were arriving in emergency per day in November, about 20 per cent higher than averages for October.
HHS is recommending reaching out to family doctors, Health Connect Ontario and St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre on King Street East as alternatives to the UCC on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.