Due to staff shortages and a high volume of patients, there will be no Emergency Department service at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) until January 3.

The Emergency Department at HGH is closed from 6 p.m. on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 6 p.m. until Tuesday January 3, 2023, at 8 a.m. The closure is due to high volumes in the Emergency Room (ER) and to a nursing staff shortage.

Like the rest of the province, HGH has been facing shortages in health human resources for the past months, particularly in nursing. To manage this nursing shortage, the organization has launched different initiatives and is monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

The respiratory illness in the community has kept the ER very busy in the past month, and its impact was even greater in the last few days.

“For the past year, we managed to keep the Emergency Department open because of the commitment and dedication of our nursing, medical and management teams. Unfortunately, this situation is not sustainable in the coming days given the challenges brought by the respiratory illnesses that continue to impact our community including our staff,” explained HGH Chief Executive Officer Frédéric Beauchemin.

To provide quality patient care with an appropriate nursing staffing levels, the HGH Leadership Team and the Board of Directors reviewed potential service reductions and redeployment across the organization.

“HGH selected solutions that have the least impact to patients and their families. We have already reduced surgeries and endoscopies to ensure services during the Holiday Season,” said HGH Board Chair Guy Yelle.

“The closure of the Emergency Department allows for a small group of nursing staff to provide patient care and replace the employees that are unable to come to work,” added Yelle.

The Family Birthing Centre at HGH is operating as usual any patient in labour should proceed as usual.

Patients requiring emergency care during the closure should go to one of the neighbouring hospitals or call 911 to be taken to the nearest hospital.

Neighbouring hospitals include:

  • Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria
  • Cornwall Community Hospital in Cornwall
  • Hôpital Montfort in Ottawa
  • The Ottawa Hospital (Civic and General) in Ottawa
  • The Ottawa Heart Institute
  • The Lachute Hospital
  • The St-Jérôme Hospital
  • The St-Eustache Hospital
  • Suroît Regional Hospital
  • The Papineau Hospital
  • The Hospital La Cité de la Santé

For alternative resources to the ER for respiratory illnesses please consult the page Emergency Department and Respiratory Illness.

Impact on paramedics

The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) is warning that the Emergency Department closure at HGH between December 30 and January 3 may affect paramedic services in the region.

Due to the longer travel time needed to transport patients to other nearby hospitals, response times may be longer than usual. To ensure emergency operations are carried out efficiently, until further notice, patients will not be able to choose to which hospital they will be transported. 

During this period, all necessary efforts and resources will be deployed to maintain the safety of patients and the highest standards of service.

In the event of an emergency, residents should not hesitate to contact 9-1-1.