10 beds closed at Boundary Trails Hospital due to nursing shortage

WINNIPEG — A quarter of the beds in a medical unit at a hospital between Winkler and Morden are closed due to a nursing shortage.

A spokesperson for Southern Health said Boundary Trails Hospital is experiencing nursing vacancy challenges like many other Manitoba hospitals.

After a review, 10 beds in the 40-bed medical unit are being temporarily closed to provide relief.

Southern Health said some term positions are returning this fall and the beds are expected to reopen on Oct. 11.

Boundary Trails Hospital serves a population area of about 50,000, including Winkler and the RM of Stanley. Both areas have the lowest COVID-19 vaccine coverage rates in Manitoba.

Southern Health said in a statement to CTV News “It continues to monitor the situation closely and plans are in place to respond to increased demands on bed occupancy as required.”

Meanwhile, Manitoba Nurses’ Union President Darlene Jackson said the situation in southern Manitoba is at a tipping point.

“Acutely ill patients, many of whom have not been vaccinated, combined with a critical nursing shortage makes for a perfect storm,” Jackson said in a statement to CTV News.

“Beds are being closed all over the province, departments are run short and sadly, both patients and nurses are suffering. The longer we continue to look at the parts and not the whole, the worse the state of health-care in this province will become,” she said.

When asked about the staffing issue at Boundary Trails Hospital at a news conference Tuesday, Manitoba’s Minister of Health Audrey Gordon said the pandemic has presented many challenges to the health-care system not just in Winkler, but across the province. She said she’s working closely with her department and regional health authorities to increase the number of nurses that are in the province’s system by adding 400 nursing education seats throughout six post-secondary schools in Manitoba.

“So that we can ensure that sites like (Boundary Trails Hospital) are appropriately staffed to provide care, and we’ll continue to work with our stakeholders to make sure that’s done,” she said.

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