By Jim Shilander

San Clemente residents, including a number of doctors and other employees at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center told the San Clemente City Council Tuesday it needs to intervene and stop or delay a plan to replace the current hospital, including its emergency room, with an updated urgent care facility.

Saddleback announced last month that it was considering a plan to raze the current facility, located on Camino De Los Mares at the border between San Clemente and Dana Point, at the end of 2015 and then rebuild a new urgent care center with more capabilities than the current facility in early 2017. The current proposal includes the ultimate elimination of the emergency room.

Several employees said the proposal would put people at greater risk in emergency situations, particularly since the nearest emergency room facility was an approximately 15 minute drive away.

Councilmembers asked Saddleback officials, as well as other stakeholders, such as the Orange County Fire Authority, which the city contracts with to occupy ambulances, be available at the next  city council meeting,  which will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

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