/Emergency departments to remain open

Emergency departments to remain open

Emergency departments in Haliburton County will remain open.

Though in November, Haliburton Highlands Health Services told the community that staff shortages threatened the upcoming closure of emergency departments at hospitals in Haliburton County, according to an update, staff has been secured for the upcoming months.

“At the moment, HHHS has secured enough agency nurses support to keep both emergency departments operating in the months ahead, though the ongoing shortage of staff across the province means we do not have many contingency plans,” reads the release, signed by Carolyn Plummer, HHHS president and CEO.

“HHHS continues to do everything we can, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health, to keep both emergency departments open with full services,” reads the community update. “The Ministry is focused on supporting hospitals across Ontario to avoid reducing services, and we are grateful for their diligent hard work.”

The release also notes HHHS is looking to hire an additional recruiter to help seek out, train, and deploy additional staff, and to complement the work being done by the County of Haliburton’s physician recruiter.

Plummer told the Times on Nov. 23 that HHHS was primarily dealing with a shortage of registered nurses and that staffing models mean it’s not simply a matter of positions, but also shifts and schedules. HHHS was at that time actively recruiting for an emergency department physician, registered nurses, and registered practical nurses. Plummer stressed the staff shortage was not related to the vaccination policy in place at HHHS, that the staffing issues had been building and HHHS had been trying to deal with them for some time. A Nov. 24 story with further details is available here: https://new.mindentimes.ca/news/hhhs-announces-likely-emergency-department-closures/.

The Dec. 21 community update from Plummer reminds residents:

“It has been a long and hard two years for health care workers, and the new challenge of Omicron comes at a time when many are tired and stressed. Please do all that you can to keep yourself, your loved ones, and our community safe this holiday season.”

– Staff