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Lynn Lake hospital closes inpatient care beds, patients to be moved to Flin Flon: NHR

According to the Northern Health Region (NHR), inpatient beds at Lynn Lake Hospital were shut down Friday. Patients in the community needing inpatient care will be moved to Flin Flon, starting this weekend.
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Hospital bed monitor.

According to the Northern Health Region (NHR), inpatient beds at Lynn Lake Hospital were shut down Friday. Patients in the community needing inpatient care will be moved to Flin Flon, starting this weekend.

The Lynn Lake Hospital itself will remain open, but inpatient beds are now, according to the NHR, unable to stay properly staffed. As a result, patients in Lynn Lake who require inpatient care will be transported to Flin Flon General Hospital over the weekend.

"Out of an abundance of caution, and with patient safety being paramount, we have been forced by these circumstances to make the decision to transfer the in-patients from Lynn Lake Hospital to Flin Flon General Hospital," reads a statement issued by the NHR July 29 and signed off on by acting NHR CEO Scott Hamel.

"This is being done in a phased manner over the upcoming weekend to ensure patient safety and adequate resources are available to meet these patients' needs."

There is no given date for when inpatient care may resume in Lynn Lake - the statement, the NHR calls the closure "indeterminate" and states that no new patients will be admitted to Lynn Lake Hospital until further notice.

The NHR cited staff shortages as the cause for the closure, marking the second time this month that shortages have been blamed for a shutdown of services at a remote northern health facility.

"Ongoing staffing issues in the Lynn Lake Hospital have resulted in a situation where only minimum staffing levels were available, which resulted in an inability to maintain safe patient care," reads the NHR statement.

"The NHR cannot continue on a path that would jeopardize patient safety or lead to an emergent evacuation of in-patients. Provincial regulations dictate that a hospital cannot have in-patients if a nurse is not on-site at all times."

The Northern Health Region [NHR] announced earlier in July that it would be closing the emergency department at the Leaf Rapids Health Centre down until the end of August as a result of a staff shortage. Some services are still available at the centre throughout the rest of July and through August, but only during standard business hours. In that announcement, the NHR asked the public to use the emergency department at Lynn Lake or to call 911 in case of severe health issues.

Emergency care and other services are still accessible at Lynn Lake Hospital.

"In light of the recent Leaf Rapids Emergency Department closure, the NHR would like to stress that the Lynn Lake Hospital emergency department will remain open, staffed and ready to provide service 24 hours a day," reads the NHR letter.

"Our goal is to implement a plan that meets the health needs of citizens served by the Lynn Lake Hospital. Most services are still available. This change does not affect the emergency department as it will remain open. Even though the in-patient beds are closing, Public Health will continue with all scheduled prenatal, postnatal, immunization in-home visits as well as any other scheduled public health activities."

The NHR operates five northern hospitals, with hubs in The Pas and Thompson and smaller facilities in places like Lynn Lake, Gillam and Flin Flon.