Canada

Tensions among hospital staff are ‘unprecedented’ and could peak soon, officials say

Dr. Chris Simpson, executive vice president of Ontario Health, says nurse shortage is particularly acute

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Ontario’s hospitals are experiencing “unprecedented” levels of staffing shortages, said a senior official at the state agency that oversees them, but as the seventh wave of COVID-19 recedes, the situation is set to continue. It may improve in a few weeks.

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Dr. Chris Simpson, executive vice president of Ontario Health, said of the staffing shortages that led to service cuts and temporary emergency room closures. in the last few weeks.

Ten hospitals have had to temporarily close emergency departments since June due to a shortage of nursing services, according to Ontario Health. The closures continue this weekend, with Clinton and St. Mary’s hospitals planning to close ERs for a period of time on Saturday.

The system has always struggled to staff remote locations, Simpson said, but the problem now extends to medium and large regional hospitals and some academic hospitals.

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Like many health care advocates and worker groups, Simpson said staffing shortages are particularly acute among nurses, many of whom are due to retirement or burnout after more than two years of grueling pandemic work. I pointed out that I was away from the scene.

COVID-19-related absenteeism has also had a major impact on operations, with “thousands” of workers currently absent due to the virus, Simpson said.

As the current wave of COVID-19 subsides, staff shortages could peak in the coming weeks, with more people returning to work and fewer patients contracting the virus and needing treatment, Simpson said. optimistic.

“I’m pretty optimistic … by September we should be better off than we are now in terms of staffing,” he said.

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However, there could be future challenges, such as a possible eighth wave of infections in the fall, and Simpson said solutions were being discussed to quickly hire more workers. I got

A top priority, he said, is to remove the barriers that keep internationally trained medical professionals out of the workforce.

Ontario’s health minister on Thursday gave regulated colleges for nurses and doctors two weeks to develop plans to enroll internationally educated professionals more quickly.

Simpson also said it would be difficult for hospitals to share nursing staff because they are employees of individual hospitals. He said a “local workforce” should also be considered as it may mitigate future harm in understaffed situations.

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Statistics Canada’s workforce report, released on Friday, includes data on the shortage of nurses and health workers, with more than one in five nurses working paid overtime in July. I understand. This is her highest level since 1997 when comparable data became available. All other employees cents worked overtime in July.

Unions representing hospital workers on Friday shared a list of steps the government should take to address the situation.

Measures include increasing staff safety and mental health support, increasing financial incentives to support retention and employment, and expanding post-secondary health work options.

They also urged the state to raise wages and repeal the wage restraint bill.

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Prime Minister Doug Ford hinted this week that no further pay increases were planned, pointing to retention bonuses for nurses announced earlier this year.

Union leaders said the issue of appropriate incentives should be discussed with the government at a meeting with the workers themselves, and those discussions should take place as soon as possible.

Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospitals Unions, said, “The fact is that many people are in a position to retire and they cannot afford to retire. ‘We have to have this discussion.’

A spokeswoman for Health Secretary Sylvia Jones said in an email that she recently met with the union.

Steven Warner points to efforts the government is already making to hire more workers and accelerate the enrollment of internationally trained staff, referring to mental health services available to health workers. Did.

“We recognize that we need to continue working with the Ontario Department of Health and all partners, including the 140 public hospital corporations, regulated universities and unions in the health sector, to address any challenges on the ground. I am,” he said.

Meanwhile, Simpson stressed that Ontarians should stay away from emergency rooms out of concern for staffing conditions.

“If you’re sick, come see us,” he said. “Don’t sacrifice your health.”

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Tensions among hospital staff are ‘unprecedented’ and could peak soon, officials say

Source link Tensions among hospital staff are ‘unprecedented’ and could peak soon, officials say

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