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(News Abroad) Nursing shortage hits St. John's ER hard

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | 8:36 AM NT
CBC News

Staff shortages forced the largest hospital in Newfoundland and Labrador to close one of its emergency units this weekend, and a nurses union official says the situation is becoming critical.

The Health Sciences Centre in St. John's closed one of three emergency units on Saturday night. Patients were diverted to another city hospital.

Nursing shortages have been pronounced this summer at hospitals across the province, with some institutions cancelling or strictly limiting vacation times.

Debbie Forward, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union, says it is only a matter of time before patient care is affected.

"It's my understanding it was the worst night they've had at [that] emergency room for several years," Forward said Tuesday.

"They have to do more with less staff.… It's just a disaster waiting to happen," she said.

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