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Staffing Issues Continue At Thunder Bay Regional

By Adam Riley Oct 21, 2022 | 9:35 PM

Staffing hospitals across the province has been difficult throughout the pandemic.

That pressure is also felt locally according to Dr. Bradley Jacobson, Chief of Staff at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and while he admits the issues exist, he believes the facility has not hit a crisis point yet.

“With the support of management and senior leadership, we’ve done a fantastic job of retaining those individuals that we currently have working with and for us.”

One of the methods Jacobson notes that has been used by other facilities in the region, is the use of nursing agencies, but its a pricey method. Instead TBRHSC has been bringing more international medical graduates onboard. Which is good as cold and flue season is upon us.

That fact alone has Jacobson emphasizing that the level of risk for Covid-19 inside the hospital won’t be changing anytime soon.

“We do need to be very cautious as far as visitors and people coming into the hospital and recognizing that masking is still a priority.”

Admissions for Covid-19 have continued to creep up, as of October 17th the hospital had a total of 32 Covid positive patients, with two in the ICU.

Meanwhile the facility’s Emergency Department continues to experience high patient volumes and as a result that has increased wait times. That is partially connected to the number of “Code Black’s” with Superior North EMS, where no ambulances are available within the city to respond to calls. At times this is as a result of the transfer of patients from the ambulance into the Emergency Department. Jacobson confirms there are still staff dedicated to assisting with offloads but did not provide a number.

“We’ve been partnering and meeting regularly with our EMS colleagues to ensure that offload delays are minimal,” adding “We’ve been able to coordinate a system through the emergency department that the triage system is occurring as paramedics do show up with patients…and ensure that the people that need to be seen urgently are seen, and occasionally people are ambulatory and well enough that they can go to triage and be triaged there.”

The overall goal, he says, in addition to providing patient care is to get paramedics back into the field.


With files from Katie Nicholls


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