“The nursing shortage has become an urgent issue in Ontario and across the country’s healthcare system,” stated Marc LeBoutillier, chief executive officer for Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) in a November 2 press release. “Our unique geographical location and the language needs of HGH patients make the staffing situation more challenging. As chief executive officer I made the difficult decision in order to manage the risks to patients and for the well-being of the clinical and medical staff.”
Starting November 1 two departments at HGH will operate at 50-per-cent capacity. Those departments are Perioptive Services, which deals with the hospital’s operating rooms, and the Family Birthing Centre.
HGH administration, in consultation with several healthcare experts, did a detailed analysis of the nursing staff situation at the hospital to develop a temporary management strategy. The HGH board approved the strategy at its October 27 meeting.
The goal is to maintain the hospital’s other in-patient care and out-patient services at current planned levels. Surgeries and other procedures related to the operating room department will be postponed as necessary. The reduction in activities for the Family Birthing Centre will be managed through “a clear set of criteria” that will consider the healthcare needs of patients. HGH will notify all patients who may be affected by the service reduction plan.
“This decision was carefully weighed and taken to ensure the safety of patients and staff,” stated Dr. Julie Maranda, HGH chief of staff. “Our teams of clinical staff and physicians are doing their best to reduce the impacts on expecting mothers, patients awaiting treatment and their families. We are doing our utmost to balance urgent and elective patient care for our community.”
HGH administration and staff do urge anyone who needs urgent care to go to the emergency department.
“We would like to thank our community for their support,” stated LeBoutillier, “and all healthcare workers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the pandemic and during these exceptional times.”