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No threat of ER closures at North Bay Regional Health Centre

'I think we have been rather stable but when every other hospital is less stable that does ultimately impact us locally'
The North Bay Regional Hospital emergency department

Paul Heinrich is very comfortable when talking about the emergency department at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. 

The North Bay Regional Health Centre CEO makes that claim as some other hospitals in the north struggle to offer 24/7 service.   

"Our emergency department is strong and is in no immediate danger and we are doing everything we can to improve the health system, to take the pressure off our ER and we do have a number of irons in the fire that are nearing fruition that may have a real positive impact on pressure there," said Heinrich. 

See related: Doctor Shortage: Now the emergency ward in Blind River is closin

Earlier this week the North Shore Health Network (NSHN) in Algoma admitted that three times over the past seven days, they had been forced to shut down the emergency department in Thessalon — one of its three regional emergency wards — because there was no doctor or nurse practitioner to report for duty.

"I think we have been rather stable but when every other hospital is less stable that does ultimately impact us locally," said Heinrich. 

"We are a really big enterprise. We receive between 50,000 to 60,000 emergency visits every year. We have a solid nucleus of emergency doctors, although we are short a number.of emergency doctors."

Heinrich admits they are still aggressively recruiting for additional emergency doctors. However, he believes the stress on the busy department is enhanced due to the shortage of long term care beds in the region. 

"The reason we have so much pressure in our emergency department is because we do not have enough long-term care beds, we are not providing enough home-in community care for the people who need it," Heinrich explains.  

"When that happens you have a whole bunch of people in the hospital who do not need to be there and that blocks patients who do need to be there in a bed from getting in.

"We are seeing that flare-up and pressure in the ED but it is actually a whole series of system pressures outside the hospital system that are contributing to this enormous pressure and burnout." 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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