07/05/2012 03:31 EDT | Updated 09/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Staff to keep ICU at Cape Breton hospital open for most of July

GLACE BAY, N.S. - Officials say the temporary closure of an intensive care unit in Cape Breton that raised concerns of an indefinite shutdown has been shortened.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority previously announced the unit at the Glace Bay Health Care Facility would close early this month until September.

The authority said the measure was necessary to cope with fewer staff working over the summer months, and would be among various closures at other hospitals in the district.

But Geoff MacLellan, the Liberal member for Glace Bay, said the ICU closure was twice as long as in previous summers and demonstrated an erosion of services.

In a statement today, the health authority says retired nurses, full-time and part-time staff will work to keep the unit open for most of this month.

It will now close on July 27 and reopen on Sept. 4, as originally scheduled.