OTTAWA -- The Outaouais health unit says a closure of the Gatineau Hospital's emergency room has been extended.

The emergency room at the Gatineau Hospital is now scheduled to reopen at 4 p.m. Wednesday after a nursing shortage forced the closure of the department this weekend.

The CISSS de l'Outaouais announced the "temporary closure" of emergency services at the Gatineau Hospital on Friday evening, adding the emergency room would remain closed until Monday afternoon. In a release Monday, the health agency said an additional 48 hours was needed to safely reopen the emergency room.

"The situation of the lack of nursing manpower with expertise is forcing the closure of the emergency room," said the CISSS de l'Outaouais.

Ambulances will be automatically directed to the Hull Hospital emergency department. Health officials say residents can visit the Hull Hospital and Papineau Hospital emergency room for services.

Children needing emergency care this weekend can be taken to the Gatineau Hospital's Outaouais Ambulatory pediatric centre. 

"The CISSS de l'Outaouais is doing everything to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible," said a statement from the health unit. "In addition, we reiterate the importance we place on quality and safe health care and services."


This is the second time in nine months that the Gatineau Hospital has been forced to suspend service in a department due to a staffing shortage.

Last September, the Gatineau Hospital temporarily suspended service in its intensive care unit because of an unexpected nursing shortage. Patients in the ICU at the Gatineau Hospital were transferred to other hospitals in the Outaouais region.

"Nurses have the right to take vacation. After two years of COVID they have the right," said Denis Marcheterre, president of Action Sante Outaouais.

"There was no choice, fine. It's the longer term that's a concern for us."

Action Sante Outaouais is a local group advocating for patients' rights in the Outaouais.  Marcheterre told CTV News Ottawa on Sunday the main problem in the Outaouais is access to services.

"It’s fine for this weekend," said Marcheterre about the ER closure this weekend due to the nursing shortage. "(But) we cannot keep on forever the way it is right now."