12/17/2012 09:56 EST | Updated 02/16/2013 05:12 EST

Christmas bed closures drop this year at hospitals on Prince Edward Island

CHARLOTTETOWN - The government of Prince Edward Island says fewer acute care beds will be closed at the province's hospitals over this Christmas season compared with previous years.

Dr. Richard Wedge, interim CEO of Health PEI, says one-third fewer acute care beds are being temporarily closed because of improvements that have been made in staffing levels.

He says he hopes that will mean patients will not be kept in emergency departments waiting for long periods of time because of a lack of beds.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince County Hospital and Western Hospital are cutting the number acute care beds that are available at various times between Dec. 14 and Jan. 4.

No bed closures are planned at the Souris Hospital, Kings County Memorial Hospital, Stewart Memorial Hospital and Community Hospital O’Leary.

Elective surgical services are also being postponed at the Queen Elizabeth and Prince County hospitals.