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"This shook me": Perth Hospital closes rattle community and calls for state response

The emergency department at Perth's hospital was closed on Thursday after a COVID-19 outbreak among already lacking nurse staff.

The emergency department closing, during what is normally its busiest season, has “rattled” residents of the town whose population swells in the summer, Perth Mayor John Fenik said.
Emergency departments are usually closed during the busiest season. Perth Mayor John Fenik said the "rattling" inhabitants of a town with a surge in population in the summer. Photo: Errol McGihon/Postmedia

Five days after the emergency department was closed due to a COVID outbreak , Frustration was growing. Over the lack of response of the Ontario government to the expanding hospital crisis in Perth on Monday.

Perth Mayor John Fenik was disappointed with the lack of official approval from state authorities regarding the seriousness of the situation in hospitals in Perth and elsewhere. Said.

The closure of the emergency department has usually "rattled" the inhabitants of a rapidly growing town in the summer, during the busiest season, Phoenix said.

"This rocked me as the mayor of a small community."

The emergency department at Perth's hospital had COVID-19 among the already lacking nurse staff. After the outbreak, it was closed on Thursday. People are redirected to Smiths Falls, about 25 kilometers away, and the emergency department remains open 24 hours a day.

Michael Cohen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, has campuses in both communities and the work plan is from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm Emergency Department Said to resume. From Thursday. However, he acknowledged that the recent increase in COVID cases among staff could force hospitals to rethink their timing.

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, hospital staff can make it difficult to keep the emergency department running 24/7 this summer. He warned that he was suffering from a serious staffing problem.

On Monday, Cohen said other hospitals throughout the state were in a similar situation.

"I have contacted quite a few colleagues and told them that we are not alone."

Newly appointed Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones Has not recently issued a public statement on the exacerbation of the staffing crisis that closed emergency departments and emergency care clinics in several Ontario hospitals. She also hasn't announced any plans to mitigate the situation.

Fennec contacted nearby Leeds-Glenville-Thousand Islands and Steven Clark, the minister of municipality on behalf of Rido Lake, but said he did not respond.

"I can't hear anything from the Minister of Health, crickets," said Dr. Alan Drammond, a Perth emergency physician who has been working in the hospital for 40 years and has long warned. rice field. Overcrowded systems would not have been sustainable without further assistance.

Dramondo, co-chair of the Canadian Emergency Medical Association's public relations committee, said the state seemed to leave the matter to the hospital.

"There is no state direction."

Mr. Drammond said the community was devastated by closing the emergency department, which has 28,000 visits a year. Told.

"They can't believe this is happening, they're wondering who to blame, and they have a lot of responsibility to avoid."

Monday In response to the question, the Ministry of Health issued a statement that if the hospital is forced to close its emergency department, it must make plans to mitigate the risk.

"Despite the introduction of several systems to prevent closure, the hospital is in the emergency department so that it can continue to operate throughout the rest of the hospital. You may have to make a difficult decision to temporarily close the system, "said Bill Campbell, a spokesman for the ministry.

The ministry contacts hospitals about service reductions, numbers for telemedicine advice, available care options, including virtual options, and where ambulances take people to call 911. I advised you to do it.

It also states that the hospital must do the following: Provide first aid to patients who arrive unaware of the closure and have staff available to call 911 if needed. The process of covering inpatients in need of waiting medical care and staff ambulances.

There are two programs in the state to help the emergency department avoid staffing-related closures, but only if the problem is a shortage of doctors. .. There is no similar program for the shortage of nurses, which is an important issue facing hospitals today. The state

also said it had invested money to train more nurses and encourage their stay.

However, Fennec said the state government must be innovative in order to urgently increase the number of declining health workers. Without it, he believes that small and medium-sized hospitals throughout the state are at risk.

"In general, I think small and medium-sized hospitals are very sparsely operated. Unless we find a creative way to get people back into the healthcare system, we are all at risk. I think I'm exposed to, "said Phoenix.

Phoenix said he fears the state will become more and more centralized in hospital services in response to the dire staffing crisis for small communities.

"If you lose this hospital, you lose the heart and soul of this community."

He said the state government would find a way to prevent it from happening. I should preach on the hill. "

However, Cohen said that large hospitals "we were not afraid of the future of small hospitals because they could not be backstops." It doesn't work that way.

According to Cohen, the hospital will provide "great support" from the government in the form of additional beds, staffing, personal protective equipment, etc. to relieve pressure throughout the pandemic. It is said that it has been received.

"We are facing a crisis of health talent across the industry. This is not just a regional problem."

On the other hand, Drammond has a serious hospital. He said he hopes to succeed without any consequences.

"I just want to hold my breath and cross my fingers and sneak through this without a disaster."

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