98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Chesley Emergency Department Closure Explained At Public Meeting

Chesley | by John Divinski  

A nursing staff shortage has prompted the hospital to close during overnight hours.

Not a lot new from a public meeting on Chesley Hospital's plan to cut back Emergency Department (ED) hours.

It was an opportunity for the public to hear the plan, first-hand.

Less than 100 people heard several speakers at the Chesley Community Centre talk about the issue, followed by questions from the floor.

As we reported on September 5th, the ED hours no longer will be 24-hours a day but rather 12 hours a day, 8am to 8pm.

It begins September 21st and will continue until at least February 1st, 2020 when the staffing issue will be revisited.

Chesley Hospital Patient Care Manager Stephanie Metcalfe says, by the numbers, they currently have 7 full time Registered Nurses and 7 part time but they need 5 more nurses to operate on a 24 hour a day basis.

Metcalfe says recently two nurses went on extended leave and that put them over the top where they couldn't handle all the shifts in a 24-hour-7-day operation.

She says the decision was made August 27th but it's a choice they didn't want to make but had to make.

President and CEO of the South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Michael Barrett says this has been a long time coming saying "The nursing challenges we've been facing in Chesley have been happening probably for the last two years."

Barrett says this move is not a budget issue but a staffing issue.

He says rumours circulating that the hospital will be closing are false.

As a matter of fact they're spending close to 3-million-dollars from the province to update the infrastructure in the facility.

Barrett expects 90% of ED visits will happen between 8am and 8pm.

Night time emergency visits will be transported to another hospital by ambulance if needed.

A 9-1-1 phone will be set up at the doors of the ED should someone show up when the department is closed.

Acting Physician Site Chief Dr. Adam Winterton says the problem is a bump in the road and assured residents, "We'll get through this," and end up being a stronger institution.

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