CHETWYND, B.C. – Northern Health has confirmed Chetwynd General Hospital was placed on diversion as of January 19th and 24th.

Officials say due to a mix of capacity issues and a lack of staff and a remedy is expected in February and May, with new nurses being hired.

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said the diversion is also a result of patients needing a higher level of care than the hospital is able to provide.

“While staffing shortages have prompted the need for these intermittent diversion of emergency department services at Chetwynd General Hospital to ensure safe patient care – they’ve not all been due to staffing considerations,” wrote Collins.

“Diversions can also be required due to capacity (the number of patients in care at a given time) and/or the level of care those patients require (acuity).”

Chetwynd Mayor Allen Courtoreille says he’s disappointed in the diversions, and noted that a lack of reliable health services puts the entire community at risk.

“It shouldn’t happen because we have industry in town, we’ve got schools in town, we’ve got seniors in town. Stuff like this should not happen in a society of today. So we are in a position of letting our people down, and it’s so frustrating.”

Collins assures work is being done to recruit nurses and other positions, including temporary agency nursing coverage, with a full-time registered nurse and three student nurses to start in May.

As of Jan. 27, four full-time registered nurse positions remain listed and open for Chetwynd on Northern Health’s website.