December 11, 2023

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While health care centres across the province and into Quebec are being forced to shut down emergency rooms and other hospital wards due to staffing shortages, North Bay Regional is hanging on.

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“At this time, the North Bay Regional Health Centre does not anticipate having to close units or patient care areas,” said Kim McElroy, hospital spokeswoman for the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

“Like many hospitals in the province, the health centre is experiencing similar periods of staffing pressures.

As a regional hospital, we staff ourselves accordingly and have contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of care. This all helps prevent a possible closure.”

According to various media sources 14 hospitals across Ontario are closing their emergency wards and Intensive Care Units. Patients are being redeployed because of staffing shortages.

Hospitals in Listowel and Wingham have notified their communities that their emergency rooms will be closed for parts of the weekend, as well the Intensive Care Unit in Bowmanville.

As of Friday afternoon there were more than 130 vacant positions at the North Bay Regional Health Centre to include Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, clerks, personal support workers to name a few.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association issued a statement following increasing reports of closures in area hospitals.

“ONA is hearing very troubling reports from our front-line members about multiple cuts and closures of beds and units in at least 14 Ontario hospitals ahead of the upcoming long weekend. We are outraged and alarmed about the growing impact the nursing shortage is having on patient care. These closures are not the fault of individual hospitals, they are a symptom of the province-wide neglect of our dedicated registered nurses and health-care professionals throughout the pandemic and before.”

ONA says their members have been “sickened, are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, are exhausted and continue to face infection with COVID-19 due to the relaxing of public health protections. Workplace violence is on the increase.”

“There are solutions and ONA has been urging the province to work with us to urgently implement measures to ease this crisis. We continue to call for the government to sit down with ONA and other health-care unions. We cannot wait any longer to resolve this crisis that is harming Ontarians and their access to health care.”


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