Alberta’s sixth largest city will be without urgent care overnight on weekends for the next eight weeks.
Due to a gap in physician coverage, the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at the Airdrie Community Health Centre will be temporarily closed overnight on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the following morning for approximately the next eight weeks.
Those seeking care must visit the UCC before 8 p.m. as no new patients will be admitted afterwards, according to an Alberta Health Services (AHS) press release on July 21. Patients already in the department at 8 p.m. will be treated and promptly discharged based on the patient’s needs.
“Nursing staff will remain in the UCC overnight to assess and triage any walk-in patients who present during the temporary closures,” read the AHS press release.
The temporary closure will take effect on July 22.
Should Airdrie residents need emergency services during the closures, AHS recommends they seek help at emergency departments in surrounding communities. Patients with less emergent needs may be referred to a medical clinic for a walk-in appointment on Monday morning.
AHS is advising any Airdrie residents who need emergency medical care to call 911 for guidance. Emergency Medical Services will be re-routed to surrounding facilities, such as Peter Lougheed Centre, Didsbury District Health Centre, Foothills Medical Centre, and Alberta Children’s Hospital.
AHS said this temporary closure is a last resort measure and the provincial health service is working hard to ensure local residents can continue to access care throughout the weekend closure.
At this time, all other services within the Airdrie Community Health Centre will operate as normal, as the other services are not impacted by the gap in physician coverage.
The UCC will resume 24-hour urgent care assistance at 7 a.m. on Mondays. Health Link is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by dialling 8-1-1. Health Link can provide free, non-emergent assistance by answering health-related questions.
“AHS would like to thank the community for its patience and understanding during this time,” read the press release. “AHS is also thankful for the support of surrounding healthcare centres and medical staff to help ensure those who need care continue to have access to it, even if it requires receiving that care in a neighbouring community.
“I understand how frustrating this is to hear and even worse to experience,” Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt said in a Facebook post. “Sadly, this problem is not unique to our community.”
Pitt continued to say that these doctor shortages are being felt all across Canada.
“We’ve spent more on healthcare than any other government in Alberta’s history,” she claimed in a Facebook comment. “People are burnt out in every sector, healthcare is not immune.”