Sunday, April 14, 2024
April 14, 2024

Letter: Hospital staff shortage alarms

I believe the public should be made aware of this situation. 

Some nights recently there was no doctor on call for night shift duty, not even for emergency room calls. If you attended the emergency room, you were told there was no physician available, so hopefully the situation you were in could wait until an office appointment the next day (seriously, getting a next-day appointment these days!?) Ambulances were being redirected, serious cases were seen by a nurse who assessed the patient, then a doctor at Saanich Peninsula Hospital had to be called for direction. Just hope, if you have a serious issue and some time left, there is a possibility of an air ambulance, and time to safely transport you!

I am sure Salt Spring residents like myself are unaware of how dire the situation is. Our doctors cannot work 16 hours a day seven days a week and be expected to cover the four-bed emergency room (ER), let alone the new 10-bed ER. It is all too much to sustain. We have hardly any nurses and how long will our remaining doctors stay unless this is corrected? Island Health seems to be only disclosing what they want us to know. There is much more to be told. Lady Minto Hospital has lost at least four doctors in the last few years and probably a dozen nurses.

LMH is now running on an agency staff from across Canada. How can this financially continue? Where will it end? The new ER could be another empty space, just like the operating room we installed years ago, a waste of our money. Maybe the whole hospital will collapse and be closed!? Something needs to be done and quickly.

Elaine Shaw,

Salt Spring 

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  1. I believe that the new Emergency Room will be a plus for attracting and retaining doctors and nurses. The old, 4-bed ER does not provide adequate space to care for the emergencies we already have.

    The new space will allow health care providers to provide the confidentiality that patients and families deserve. Fewer sick people will have to sit in hallways.

    As someone whose role it was to hire new nursing staff for many years, I can assure you that many highly skilled applicants withdrew their applications when they saw the working conditions in our existing ER.

    The shortage of health care workers is a serious and genuine concern, but new emergencies will not be generated by having adequate space for the hard working Lady Minto staff to work in.

    The first thing I did when I retired was to donate to the ER building fundraiser.

  2. Emergencies do not need more space, only staff to treat patients. The same thing happened with our beautiful new LMH surgery, which we fought for so diligently. I was there with Phyllis at our helm. All this was a waste. Beyond the space to work day and night inside the corridors, doctors and nurses need a quality of life beyond the doors of the hospital. That has become the tragic compromise. It will not get better because real estate has taken what belongs to the residents.


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