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Temporary closures at Ponoka hospital’s emergency department

Gaps in physician coverage blamed
The emergency department at Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre will be temporarily closed Sunday night. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre emergency department was temporarily closed during the day on Friday and another closure is scheduled for Sunday night.

Alberta Health Services says the closures are due to gaps in physician coverage.

On Friday the emergency department was to be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday it will be closed from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Monday.

Any patients presenting to the department during these times will be assessed by nursing staff and referred to other emergency departments in surrounding communities depending on their condition.

EMS will transport patients to other facilities if necessary, including the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre (35 kms away), Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre (40 kms away), and Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (56 kms away).

EMS crews responding from 911 calls with patients requiring hospital care will also re-route to alternative facilities.

Patients with non-urgent conditions will be redirected to other available care options appropriate to their needs. These options include calling Health Link at 811 for medical information and advice, returning to the emergency department when it reopens if necessary, or following up with a primary care provider.

All other services at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre will continue to operate as normal during these temporary emergency department closures.

“AHS is grateful for the support of surrounding healthcare centres and medical staff, especially those who have stepped in to help minimize this coverage gap as much as possible. We would also like to thank the community for its understanding.”

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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