The Chetwynd Hospital was on ‘complete diversion’ yesterday, which meant the temporary suspension of emergency room services.
The closure of the emergency room was due to a shortage of registered nurses. Northern Health has posted the following on its Chetwynd Facebook page:
We understand the frustrations with recent diversions at Chetwynd General Hospital. We want to reassure the community we’re doing everything we can to address this.
Our priority is to provide quality healthcare and maintain services in Chetwynd. Our current reality is that both registered and community nurses are in short supply in Northeast BC, around the province, and in fact throughout Canada. This staffing shortage is not particular to Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.
We’re actively recruiting registered nurses for both Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge. In fact, Chetwynd was successful in recruiting three new RNs to the hospital, the last of the three start October 2021. Also, Northern Health has hired three employed student nurses. Employed student nurses are students going into their final year of nursing school. By hiring the student nurses, NH is giving them an opportunity for more hands-on training throughout their summer break, and hopefully they will want to return to Chetwynd Hospital upon graduation next spring.
The hardworking staff currently in Chetwynd also need adequate time to rest, and we appreciate the community’s understanding of this, as staff take time off, including planned vacations.
Diversions can be caused by patient capacity, staffing levels, or a combination of both. When this occurs, it is in order to maintain safe care for our patients and working conditions for staff. We always work closely with our patient transfer partners to ensure those requiring urgent and emergency care are safely transported to the nearest available and appropriate facility.
We want to thank all our nurses and staff in Chetwynd time for their ongoing commitment to providing quality healthcare in the community.