Emergency rooms across Canada are shutting down

Hospitals may be closing down due to the COVID outbreak, but doctors are saying it's because of the ongoing staff shortage. 'A nurse can't be everywhere,' says Cathryn Hoy, President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association.

Emergency rooms across Canada are shutting down
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Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed by the pandemic, which is causing emergency rooms to shut down across the country. 

However, doctors are saying that it is because of the ongoing staff shortage.

“Yeah, COVID caused the closure of the emergency department, but the reality of it is that we had no built-in resilience of our nursing staff,” Dr. Alan Drummond quoted to CTV News.

Apparently, Perth hospital has seen its nurses drop from 15 to five in its emergency department over the last few months. Two nurses contracted COVID-19 recently in the Perth ER, which then led to the department temporarily closing down because the hospital was in a "staffing crisis" according to this administrator. That being said, Perth and Smith Falls Districts are currently shut down due to the pandemic's outbreak.  

CP24 says that "Ontario is struggling with health-care labour shortages" because workers are leaving their hospital roles after working there more than two years during the pandemic. 

President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, Cathryn Hoy says that the staffing shortage is because those nurses and staff members are burnt out:

But why they're burning out is because they come in for an eight or 12-hour shift and they're staying 16 hours. Sometimes they’re staying 24 hours.

Hoy said she has heard from nurses who've reported emergency rooms temporarily staffed with a single nurse to cover 30 patients, some hospitals with dozens of unfilled ER positions and patients cared for in hallways. 

"A nurse can't be everywhere," she said. 

Staff from the Ontario Hospital Association say that they are seeing an increasing number of patients waiting for home care, and the staff shortage isn't helping the situation; it's just causing backlogs in the hospital system.

The Ontario Medical Association stresses that the government must set up additional centers that focuses more on specific surgeries and procedures that will help alleviate the unorganized chaos happening in the hospitals.

"We know health care doesn't run on an election cycle," said Dr. Samantha Hill, a past president who was speaking on behalf of the association. "We need to … commit to more forward-thinking systems design and more forward-thinking healthcare designs."

"A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health said the province was working to bolster workforce capacity, including with lump sum retention bonuses and funds to recruit nurses to target areas across the province," says CP24.

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