Numerous hospital emergency rooms across Canada have had to temporarily close their doors this summer, mainly due to a shortage of health workers. Hospitals usually handle more volume in the winter than the summer months, but this year emergency rooms have seen more summer patients than usual. Some of these patients put off doctor visits during the pandemic, and many need more care as a result.
Quoting Dr. Raghu Venugopal, an emergency room physician in Toronto, “the health system has already collapsed.” He explained further, “We’re getting waves (of COVID-19) every two to three months, and the system was just not designed for the stress of this … so we’re seeing the strains now.” In addition, medical staff have experienced burnout from the strain of the last two-and-a-half years, resulting in a large number of people leaving health service fields.
Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), refers to complex issues, but says, “physicians want policy makers to do more to immediately increase resources not just to emergency departments, but to other areas of health care, such as long-term care and primary care, so people who don’t need to be in an ER can get medical help in a more appropriate venue.”
Shortages in emergency room staffing could increase the number of guests seeking services at your organization. Have you hired the appropriate staff and implemented suitable systems to offer them the care they need?