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Elk Point emergency department closed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday

The Elk Point emergency department will be closed for a couple nights this week, due to staff shortages.
File photo

ELK POINT - The Elk Point Healthcare Centre's emergency department (ED) will be closed overnight from 7 p.m. Aug. 16 to 7 a.m. Aug. 17, and from 7 p.m. Aug. 17 to 7 a.m. Aug. 18.

"Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily closing the emergency department at Elk Point Healthcare Centre due to a lack of registered nursing staff and an inability to secure temporary coverage," reads a public service announcement from AHS. "The ED may reopen sooner if coverage can be found."

Patients are asked to call 911 if they have a medical emergency. Nurses will remain on site in acute care at the Elk Point hospital. 

"Patient safety and care remain the highest priorities for AHS. The organization is working hard to ensure everyone will receive the care they need through its partnership with EMS and a supportive regional network of healthcare centres," according to AHS.

Nursing shortages are nothing new to the region, and continue to be a challenge across North America. 

"It can be particularly difficult outside of urban centres and with practitioners who bring specialty skills," according to AHS. 

Recruitment efforts remain underway, and a dedicate team has been put together by AHS.

"These efforts include aggressively pursuing both Canadian and internationally trained professionals; working to support flexible roles and scope of practice within AHS; and consulting with post-graduate education programs to enable work experience in non-urban facilities."