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Hospital staffing crisis continues but glimmers of hope on the horizon

Hospital staffing crisis continues but glimmers of hope on the horizon

Two of Ontario’s top public health officials says we may see improvement in the hospital capacity crunch by September, but meanwhile local hospitals are still in crisis mode. In an update to stakeholder and staff, St Joes Healthcare says transfers of patients between regional hospitals will still be necessary in order to prevent any one hospital from being overwhelmed.

The memo reads, “by accepting patient transfers, we hope to prevent what might be a larger influx of patients to our hospital should a critical service be paused at another hospital, such as an emergency department.

We know our healthcare worker teams at St. Joe’s continue to feel the pressure as well across all areas of the hospital. Today we are operating at over 100 per cent occupancy for acute care and our surgical team is helping to relieve pressure, accommodating off service patients.”

In a memo to the Joe Brant community, CEO Eric Vandewall noted, “Our frontline staff are stretched thin due to a nationwide shortage of healthcare providers to step in to relieve the pressure that they are experiencing. Many important clinical professionals – including nurses, laboratory and diagnostic imaging technologists – are in short supply at JBH and across the province.

The current situation at Joe Brant:

•          Acute occupancy exceeded 100 per cent in July

•          Workforce vacancy rate is 8.82 per cent

•          As of August 3, 40 healthcare workers were off work due to COVID-19

•          Approximately 2,655 people are waiting for surgery at JBH

The Vandewall memo continued: “Our staff and physicians have been through a grueling two-and-a-half years with little time to recover from the physical and emotional toll of the pandemic. We are grateful to them for their self-sacrifice and unwavering commitment to caring for our community. “

On the possible good news front Dr. Kieran Moore said he thinks the peak of the seventh wave has passed.

“I think we’ve already started on the downswing,” he told the Globe and Mail.

“It’s always easier to look back and say where we were, but from our vantage point just today, it certainly has stabilized and we’re seeing a decrease in the overall number of people hospitalized, stabilization in ICU, which are typically late indicators, and at a provincial level the wastewater is on the decrease.”

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