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There are not enough nurses to keep Mount Forest’s hospital ER open tonight | CBC News

The hospital in Mount Forest, Ont., will temporarily close its emergency department overnight because of a shortage in nurses.

Louise Marshall Hospital’s emergency department will be closed for 12 hours starting at 7 p.m. ET. 

It is scheduled to reopen 7 a.m. on Friday.

Kate Kobbes, vice-president of clinical services at the Wellington Healthcare Alliance that oversees the hospital, said there is no quick fix to the problem.

“We currently have several vacancies,” she said. “There’s only so far we can go with our current staff in terms of optimizing the schedule and making sure there is minimum staffing. There’s [also] recruitment challenges for Louise Marshall, so that’s provided some increased challenges along with vacation and sick time.”

She said patients will need to drive to the next nearest emergency department while the one at Louise Marshall is temporarily closed.

“It’s definitely undesirable to have the emergency department closed, but we are fortunate to have nearby emergency departments as soon as 20 minutes away. So that’s a saving grace compared to other areas where they’re far more dispersed.”

She said there are two emergency departments located about 20 minutes away: Palmerston & District Hospital and the South Bruce Grey Health Centre.

There are also other hospitals located about 30 to 40 minutes away, in Listowel, Hanover and Fergus.

This is the Louise Marshal Hospital emergency department’s second 12-hour overnight closure this summer.

The first temporary closure took place exactly on the night of July 6.

It’s not the first summer the hospital has been plagued with staffing shortages and closures — there was a temporary closure last summer as well.

Kobbes said the staffing issue seems to be getting progressively worse with every passing year.

Other hospitals also face temporary closures

Other hospitals across Ontario continue to close some emergency room departments and collapse available hours because of staffing shortages — most are located in small towns.

“We’re dealing with probably the worst staffing crisis we’ve experienced in decades,” said Andrew Williams, president and CEO of the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, which runs hospitals in Clinton, St. Marys, Seaforth and Stratford.

In addition to shutting down on Sunday, Clinton’s hospital has been running on reduced hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for the last three years.

“Our government knows emergency departments across the country have faced capacity pressures year after year,” said Hannah Jensen, spokesperson for Ontario’s minister of health. “We know the status quo is not working and more needs to be done.” 

The province says it’s hired more than 60,000 new nurses since 2018 and nearly 8,000 new physicians have registered to work in Ontario.


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