Local emergency room reducing hours due to staffing shortage

(Blackburn News file photo)

A nursing staff shortage will result in a temporary reduction of hours at a local hospital emergency department.

The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance said a shortage of nurses will cause the Clinton Public Hospital to start closing the emergency department from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. starting on Monday, December 2.

In the release, the healthcare alliance notes it has had issues recruiting staff for the Clinton Public Hospital over the last five years. The alliance will continue to try and remedy the situation and will provide updates to residents. The reduction in hours in the emergency department will not affect the other parts of the Clinton Public Hospital.

HPHA Vice-President, Anne Campbell, says the recruitment issues go beyond a shortage, in that novice nurses can’t be left alone through the night.

“We have a critical shortage of experienced, qualified nurses to work in the emergency department. It’s something we’ve been struggling with for a number of years. We really need to have a balance of nurses that have experience. We always welcome novice nurses and we train them, but they can’t work alone at night.”

Campbell also says no nurses are being laid off as a result of the reduction in hours.

“This did not result in any nurses being laid off. We’re keeping them all on staff and when we have nurses that are extra, we will be looking at professional development. So we will use our extra staff to train the novice nurses. No nurses are being laid off.”

Information on the nearest emergency departments will be posted on the door at Clinton Public Hospital when the emergency department is closed.

More information can be found on the HPHA website: http://www.hpha.ca/.

**With files from Bob Montgomery**