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No overnight physician coverage in Northern Alberta ER

Staffing shortages mean ER in Lac La Biche will be without a physician for 15 hours.

The William J. Cadzow Healthcare Centre Emergency Department in Lac La Biche will be without a physician from 5 p.m., on Aug. 9 to  8 a.m., on. Aug. 10, due to staffing shortages. Alberta Health Services (AHS) released the statement Monday afternoon detailing the overnight disruption that is expected to be a “temporary measure” until a physician returns to the department, said Alberta Health spokesperson Gayleen Froese. 

“This is a temporary measure and AHS is working hard to ensure local residents continue to have access to the care they need during this time.” 

The unit will remain open and serviced by nursing staff in the emergency department, the news release indicated.  

“Nursing staff will remain on-site in the ED providing triage and assessments, and referrals for patients to alternate EDs in surrounding communities as needed.” 

During the shortage, EMS will be available to transport residents in Lac La Biche in need of emergent care to neighbouring facilities. Residents in need of support should continue to call 911 for emergencies. Additionally, residents with medical questions are encouraged to call Health Link, the province's medical support line at 811, added Froese while AHS finds solutions. 

“We are thankful for the support of surrounding healthcare centres and medical staff and would like to thank the community for its patience and understanding during this time. " 

The disruption will be the third consecutive emergency department closure this summer at the hospital due to a physician shortage. Previously, from June 24 to 25, and June 27 to 28 the department was closed from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.