Island Health has temporarily closed the Ucluelet outpatient medical lab due to a shortage of staff.
The health authority said the closure was necessary to consolidate staffing and ensure reliable laboratory services at Tofino General Hospital.
During the temporary closure, those requiring outpatient services can go to the lab in Tofino, where hours and online appointments have been increased.
The Tofino outpatient lab will be open Mondays and Fridays 9 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.
“Island Health, like all health authorities across B.C. and Canada, is experiencing a shortage of qualified medical lab support staff,” the agency said in a statement. “Recruitment efforts are ongoing and it is expected that the Ucluelet outpatient lab will reopen when staffing levels allow.”
Several medical facilities in the region have seen temporary closures over the past several months, including the outpatient lab in Sidney, which was closed for three weeks starting in June.
The emergency room at the Cormorant Island Community Health Centre in Alert Bay is closed overnight until Aug. 16, and emergency rooms in Port McNeill and Port Hardy faced 12-hour closures this past weekend.
There are also reduced hours at the Chemainus Health Care Centre, with six full days of closures planned on Aug. 3, 10, 15, 20, 27 and 28.
All of the closures have been blamed on lack of staff.