Two peace officer vehicles are seen in front of the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre at about 3:30 p.m. March 17. By then, the lock down had ended. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

UPDATE: Ponoka hospital’s emergency department closure shortened

Efforts have helped shorten the duration of the temporary closure

UPDATE:

The Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre emergency department (ED) will be temporarily without onsite physician coverage from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, September 19 due to a gap in coverage.

Initially the ED was to be closed overnight as of 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 18 until Monday evening; however, ongoing efforts to secure alternative physician coverage have helped shorten the duration of the temporary closure.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is grateful to local physicians who have taken on additional hours and shifts to support the ED.

Efforts to further reduce the length of the temporary closure continue at this time.

During the closure on Monday, patients presenting to the ED will be assessed by nursing staff and referred to alternate facilities in surrounding communities as appropriate depending on their needs.

EMS calls will be re-routed to surrounding facilities, including the Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre, Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre, and Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Residents are reminded to call Health Link at 811, which is available 24/7, for non-emergency, health-related questions.

ORGINAL STORY:

The Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre emergency department (ED) will be temporarily without physician coverage from 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 until 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says it is working hard to ensure residents continue to have access to the care they need during this time, and to keep all other services at the site operating as normal.

Inpatient units are not impacted by this closure.

Patients coming to the hospital seeking ED services will be referred to emergency departments in surrounding communities as needed, or to the local medical clinic for follow up with a family physician depending on their needs.

READ MORE: Ponoka emergency department to close overnight Aug. 4

Patients requiring emergency medical care during this time are asked to call 911. EMS calls will be re-routed to surrounding facilities, including the Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre, Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre, and Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Residents are reminded to call Health Link at 811, which is available 24/7, for non-emergency, health-related questions.

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