The emergency department at Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague will continue to be closed on weekends until at least February 2024, according to Health P.E.I.
The health agency originally announced in June that the emergency department would be closed on weekends until at least early October 2023
In a news release Tuesday morning, Health P.E.I. said the emergency department will be open only from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., due to a lack of doctors and other staff.
“Recruitment for physicians, nurses and all necessary staff to maintain the emergency department seven days a week has been a priority for many months,” Corinne Rowswell, Chief Operating Officer for Health P.E.I., was quoted as saying in the news release.
Unfortunately, we have not yet recruited enough staff to this area to return to daily service.— Corinne Rowswell
“Unfortunately, we have not yet recruited enough staff to this area to return to daily service.”
Health P.E.I. said the weekday schedule was implemented in early July to help avoid last-minute and unplanned closures at the emergency department.
Since July, Kings County Memorial Hospital has had no unplanned closures, Health P.E.I. said.
Three Rivers Mayor Debbie Johnston said it’s “extremely disappointing” the ER will remain closed on weekends. She is pleading with the province to keep it open, or offer other alternatives such as a walk-in clinic.
“So many people don’t have family doctors so if you go into the emergency room now on Monday, it’s packed… We’ve lost so many services out here, two doctors, now the reduction in the in the emergency hours, it’s just really going to affect everybody.”
Donna Singleton of Murray River said she’s concerned that the only option is to travel to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.
“If [the Kings County Memorial] hospital isn’t available at the time, what are you going to do? It’s a long drive to town when somebody is really not well.”
Other health-care options
In the meantime, a spokesperson for Health P.E.I. said the agency is working with the Department of Health and Wellness and community partners to help people in the Three Rivers area access health care.
That includes providing primary care physician services on Mondays to see people with less serious issues to divert them from the ER.
Health P.E.I. advises anyone with emergency medical needs to call 911 or seek emergency services when:
- Experiencing discomfort or tightness in the chest.
- Experiencing unusual shortness of breath.
- Experiencing abdominal pain.
- Experiencing prolonged and persistent headache or dizziness.
- An injury that may require stitches or involve a broken bone.
- A child has prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
- A baby under six months of age has a fever of 38 C or higher.
If you have any health concerns or need immediate health information, call 811 to speak to a registered nurse.