Toronto hospital almost shuts down emergency room amid staff shortage
Toronto Western Hospital's emergency room almost shut down this past weekend due to a severe staffing shortage.
Thankfully, the hospital managed to secure enough workers just in the nick of time in order to remain open.
The University Health Network (UHN) explained that the issue stemmed from "significantly higher numbers of patients presenting to the ED, sicker patients, staffing shortages, staff illness and well deserved and needed vacation scheduling."
In a memo issued to staff this week, the UHN said it was in "urgent need" of "volunteers" to fill nursing shifts from Friday to Sunday.
This arrived in the inbox of a Dr friend of mine today. Toronto Western Hospital is desperate for “extenders” to staff the ER this weekend because they can’t find enough nurses.— Marit Stiles (@maritstiles) July 22, 2022
Our system is collapsing.
Where is our new Health Minister? #onpoli #onhealth pic.twitter.com/FiWlVlBurH
The memo asked for help from medical students and postgraduate residents to fill in for registered nurses.
"We will not be able to safely operate the TWD ED if we are unable to fill nursing shifts this weekend," a UHN staffer wrote in the memo.
Staff were also asked to admit patients from the emergency department quickly, which in the end helped avoid a closure of the hospital's ER department.
The UHN said solutions used to resolve this past weekend's shortage were short term, and that it is focused on longer term solutions including international recruitment in order to avoid similar situations in the future.
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