Port McNeill Hospital (PMH) will be closed from 7:00 a.m. March 4 to 12:00 p.m. March 7 and no new patients will be admitted.
Why? According to Island Health, a shortage of doctors is at the root of the problem.
“Island Health was advised on March 3 that the physician scheduled to provide coverage for PMH this coming weekend will unexpectedly be unavailable,” the organization said in a statement to media. “Despite immediate and significant efforts by local leaders to find alternative medical coverage, medical coverage was not provided.”
Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or, if possible, go to Port Hardy Hospital. Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure patients are transported to the appropriate site.
If you are unsure if you are experiencing a medical condition requiring a visit to an emergency department, confidential health information and advice from a registered nurse is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling HealthLink BC at 811.
Island Health will continue to seek medical coverage and will notify the community of any changes in the situation.
“Island Health recognizes that this is not an ideal situation for the community and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience experienced by this temporary reduction in service.”
Longtime Port McNeill doctor Prean Armogam, who has been at odds with Island Health for the past year and opened his own private clinic in town, said he was not surprised by the news because he is currently under time at the moment and has not been able to fill shifts.
“The situation for doctors in Port McNeill remains a challenge despite the best efforts of the city and local resources,” he said. “We are still struggling on a daily basis and these are the consequences of that.”