VCH announces reduced hours for UBC Hospital’s emergency department

The emergency department at UBC Hospital will temporarily close two hours earlier each day starting August 16, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced Monday evening.

VCH — which oversees the operations of UBC’s hospital — said the department’s hours will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow staff and physicians to end their shifts on time in a statement on its website.

“Increasing patient arrival volumes, especially at the end of the day, has meant that staff and medical staff at UBC Hospital ED are routinely working well beyond their scheduled shifts,” the statement read, quoting Dr. Ladan Sadrehashemi, co-senior medical director of Vancouver acute for VCH. “The uncertainty of not knowing the last shift end time is creating burnout and loss of medical and other staff within the ED healthcare team and is not sustainable.”

According to a VCH statement sent to The Ubyssey on Wednesday, UBC Hospital's ED has seen a 22.5 per cent increase in patient volume in 2021/22 and the first quarter of 2022/23.

VCH said the two-hour reduction will also allow the health authority to assess emergency physician coverage at acute care sites across Vancouver. It added that work to identify interim and long-term solutions to managing patient volumes at UBC Hospital are underway.

In its Wednesday statement, VCH said it hoped to resume the ED's regular hours as soon as possible.

If people require emergency care past 8 p.m., they should seek treatment at Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital or BC Children’s Hospital. However, patient transport to UBC Hospital’s ED will continue until 6 p.m. as usual during the closure.

VCH added on Wednesday that patients who arrive after. 8 p.m. during the week of August 15 will be triaged at UBC Hospital. Those requiring urgent care will receive care at UBC.

“VCH deeply appreciates the support and understanding of patients and residents in nearby communities and advises the public to access care in the most appropriate location,” the original announcement read.

This article was updated on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 11:10 a.m. to include additional comments from VCH.