Staff short­age

The Glengarry News - - News - -- Richard Ma­honey

Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal (CCH) is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tem­po­rary short­age of Emer­gency De­part­ment Physi­cians.

“Our cur­rent doc­tors are work­ing ex­tra shifts to en­sure proper cov­er­age and care to our com­mu­nity, and we have sev­eral new re­cruits start­ing July 1, in­clud­ing two from the Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion’s “Adopt a Med­i­cal Res­i­dent” pro­gram,” the CCH says.

“Ev­ery at­tempt is made to match our Emer­gency De­part­ment (ED) sched­ule to pa­tient ar­rival pat­terns, but this is never fully pre­dictable. It is dur­ing the morn­ing and early af­ter­noon hours that most pa­tients ar­rive in our ED, and this is where we con­cen­trate our staffing. In the late-night hours, our vol­ume of new pa­tients is low, and there are fewer doc­tors on duty. Dur­ing the overnight hours, the ED staff are busy with am­bu­lances and crit­i­cally ill pa­tients.”

“While we do our best to see ev­ery­one that presents to the Emer­gency De­part­ment quickly, pa­tients with less ur­gent con­di­tions may have longer waits. Mov­ing a doc­tor from day­time to the night would re­sult in much longer day­time waits, af­fect­ing many more peo­ple.”

“It may ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity to un­der­stand that less ur­gent con­di­tions will be more ef­fi­ciently seen dur­ing morn­ing and early af­ter­noon hours. In fact, dur­ing the day we have up to four doc­tors on duty. We want ev­ery­one to know that we al­ways strive to pro­vide the best care pos­si­ble in a timely way. If your con­di­tion is less se­vere, the wait time will likely be bet­ter dur­ing the day when we have higher staffing lev­els,” the CCH says. The wait time is usu­ally shorter from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All pa­tients are as­sessed ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Triage and Acu­ity Scale to eval­u­ate how ur­gently they need to be seen. A few ex­am­ples of ur­gent con­di­tions in­clude: stroke, heart at­tack, dif­fi­culty breath­ing, se­vere un­ex­plained headache, high fevers, bleed­ing in preg­nancy, signs of in­fec­tion in the very young, or very old.

The emer­gency de­part­ment has re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced re­tire­ments cou­pled with an un­ex­pected leave lead­ing to our tem­po­rary short­age.

The Adopt a Med­i­cal Res­i­dent pro­gram is one of sev­eral strate­gies im­ple­mented to re­cruit Emer­gency De­part­ment physi­cians. “Thanks to donors across our com­mu­nity, the City of Corn­wall, and an in­vest­ment by CCH for 2019, two new doc­tors from Queen's Univer­sity will start sup­port­ing pa­tients this July. Al­ready be­ing fam­ily doc­tors, they can serve our pa­tients while pur­su­ing spe­cial­ized skills in emer­gency medicine. Fol­low­ing their train­ing, they will work at our hos­pi­tal for at least two years. Re­cruit­ment of med­i­cal staff is com­pet­i­tive but to­gether we're bring­ing four new ED doc­tors to Corn­wall over the next three years.”

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