While the Saskatchewan Health Authority had announced yesterday that the Emergency Services in Weyburn will be closed evenings and overnights at the Weyburn General Hospital this weekend, there's some good news due to recent development.
The ER in Weyburn will now only be closed beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 5th, into Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.
Manager of Clinical Services at WGH, Cheryl VanDeSype said this is only possible because one of their nursing staff is coming back early from their vacation.
"We are definitely feeling regretful to inform the community that we had to do any emergency room closure this weekend for the night. However, we were able to get staff or Saturday night, which is August 6th," she explained. "This is due to a staff member coming back from vacation to fill in the shift for Saturday night to keep our doors open."
She said the main reason for the ER closure may also mean future closures, which is a nursing shortage.
"The only reason we haven't closed our doors to date is because of the backs of our own nurses, who work tirelessly, and endlessly, to keep these doors open," shared VanDeSype. "For the sake of their family, their friends, and our community. They're the true people behind the scenes here."
VanDeSype said they have had trouble filling nursing positions, as it is difficult to recruit to more rural centres, so they're repeatedly being filled by their own staff.
"We have vacant lines that remain unfilled and we are filling them at overtime with our own staff over and over again, and this weekend happens to be a time where we weren't able to fill those gaps so we do apologize and we will be up and running normal functions Saturday."
She said they've been "making a little bit of noise" at the hospital trying to encourage solutions to the nursing crisis.
"I's my whole building and it's not just my emergency department, but the emergency is the one where it's easier for me to close beds upstairs, which I do on week to week basis, based on staffing, where downstairs the only option is to close the door when you do not have staff to run the emergency room."
"But in saying that, I am thankful someone decided to come back again from vacation Saturday night, but that burnout, that runs its course, too, when those decisions get made."
She added, "we really just need some nurses."