April 20, 2009
For immediate release
Kings County Memorial Hospital Experiences Temporary Reduction in Emergency Room Services
This temporary reduction in services is necessary due to a critical shortage of diagnostic services staff (combined technologists who conduct both diagnostic imaging and laboratory services). These services are required to be available in order to have an Emergency Department open.
Staffing shortages have been an ongoing issue for the hospital’s Emergency Department. “Staff have been working above and beyond the call of duty to work through this issue, but at the end of the day we do have to adhere to national standards and staff and patient safety are the primary concern here,” said Deputy Minister for the Department of Health, Keith Dewar.
As of Wednesday, for medical emergencies between the hours of 10 p.m. and
8 a.m., the public in the catchment area served by Kings County Memorial Hospital is advised to call 911 or seek emergency services at the closest emergency room, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The department wishes to assure the public that the system has the capacity to deal with the anticipated volumes during this temporary reduction in hours. Island EMS is aware of the situation and is ready to respond.
“We are committed to offering emergency room services to the residents of Kings County, but to operate an ER without proper access to diagnostic services poses an unacceptable level of risk to patient care,” said Dr. Terry Magennis, Chief of Staff at Kings County Memorial Hospital.
Every effort is being made to address the staffing issue in both the short and long term. Considerable work has already gone into addressing this issue and that work is ongoing. This work includes the Recruitment and Retention Secretariat’s new return in-service grant to any experienced combined technician willing to re-locate and a sponsorship for students in the radiation technology program at UPEI, or other educational institutions, who are interested in combined technician training.