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The intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket has been shut down.

Care New England says the move Monday was "in the best interest of patient care" and was coordinated with the Department of Health. The unit wasn't able to care for as many critically ill patients as it usually treats due to the limited availability of physicians.

The Providence-based nonprofit health system announced plans to close the facility last month.

A union that represents nurses and other Memorial employees blasted Monday's decision, calling it an attempt by Care New England to "sidestep" state approval processes required for the closure.

A health department spokesman says Care New England submitted a closure plan to the state last week. The move to close the ICU was allowed.

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