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.”