Health-care labour shortage in spotlight as two Ontario ER's close

hospital bed

The recent temporary closure of two Ontario emergency rooms and the consolidation of staff at another have put the spotlight on health-care labour shortages in the province.
    
A small hospital in southwestern Ontario closed its emergency department this weekend citing staffing shortages and a hospital in Kingston temporarily reduced its urgent care centre hours to consolidate staff at its E-R.
    
A hospital south of Ottawa, in Perth, had to close its E-R on Saturday, with plans for it to stay shut until Thursday as staff who are already stretched thin contend with a COVID-19 outbreak.
    
A physician there says the outbreak magnified staffing shortages -- he says the ER's nursing complement has dropped from 15 to five in recent months.
    
Healthcare organizations say the province has been struggling with labour shortages as nurses and physicians leave the profession after more than two years on the pandemic's frontlines.
    
Ontario's Ministry of Health says it's offering nurses lump sum retention bonuses and spending millions on hiring and training nurses in target areas.
    
A recent Statistics Canada survey found nearly a quarter of nurses intended to change their job in the next three years, with stress or burnout cited as the leading reasons.

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