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No decision made on potential emergency department closure by Haliburton Highlands Health Services

No decision has been made about which emergency department might close or reduce because of staffing shortages, according to Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS).

HHS operates two emergency departments: one at its location in Dysart et al at 7199 Gelert Rd. and a second in Minden at 6 McPherson St.

“The fact that both emergency departments have remained open so far is a testament to the incredible dedication and commitment shown by our local teams, as well as the staffing support we have received from agency nursing staff and HealthForce Ontario Emergency Department Locum Program physicians,” said Carolyn Plummer, President & CEO of HHHS. “Though this is a very challenging situation to manage, HHHS will remain focused on our mandate of delivering essential, high-quality health services to the residents, cottagers, and visitors of Haliburton County and the surrounding area.”

Health services first spoke about the impact of staffing shortages in November 2021 and official say they worked to think up other options and alternatives:

  • Accessing provincial programs to fund the recruitment of internationally-educated nurses and nursing students, and working with Ontario Health to identify other recruitment strategies.
  • Engaging in virtual career fairs to attract nursing students and new graduates.
  • Enhancing the organization’s social media presence.
  • Hiring a dedicated recruiter to work on other recruitment activities.
  • Meeting with local municipal leaders to identify possible collaborations and ways to support recruitment and current staff/physician retention.
  • Collaborating with the Haliburton County Physician Recruitment Coordinator.
  • Focusing on retention by supporting educational opportunities for current staff, expanding scopes of practice, upgrading and expanding technology, engaging with staff to improve practices, creating a Professional Practice Leader/Educator role to support the onboarding of new staff, and professional development of our current team, and supporting the work of the Staff Wellness Committee and their efforts to address stress, burnout, and well-being.

HHHS officials say they will continue to be transparent with their communication about the ongoing situation.

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