Staffing shortages at small-town Ontario hospitals still shutting some ERs – CBC

‘We’re dealing with probably the worst staffing crisis we’ve experienced in decades,’ hospital head says

Jul 19, 2023

Small-town hospitals in smaller Ontario communities continue to close some emergency room departments and collapse available hours because of staffing shortages.

Last Sunday, both Wingham and District Hospital and Clinton Public Hospital in southwestern Ontario shut down.

“We had a short-term nursing sick call and unfortunately we were not able to backfill the staff and had to close our emergency department,” said Karl Ellis, president and chief executive officer of Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance.

“Our residents and community are concerned and I think justifiably so. We’re doing all we can to try to make sure that that doesn’t become the norm.

“Staffing in small hospitals has always been precarious, but it’s particularly stressful now,” said Ellis. “In a department that has two nurses working, if one of those nurses calls in sick, we may be placed in the position of closing the emergency department if we can’t replace her or him.”

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