‘Human resource limitations will be the greatest challenge’

·3 min read

LISTOWEL – The Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance (LWHA) released highlights from May’s board of directors meeting.

It highlighted a number of developments that took place over the month, including recruitment efforts made in Listowel and Wingham. They noted that Wingham, with nine family medicine physicians in three clinics, supports 12,591 total patients. Listowel, with 14 physicians in one clinic, supports 18,320 total patients. There continues to be a shortage in health human resources. As the report reads, “In particular, nursing, physicians and laboratory technicians are the three professional groups where current shortages are resulting in the greatest risk of service reduction or closure. Efforts are focused on preparing plans to address contingency staffing as well as crisis staffing issues. In small hospitals, there is often little distinction between contingency and crisis levels. It is clear that health human resource limitations will be the greatest challenge for the health care system in the months ahead.

Funding

Local MPPs confirmed that the hospitals will receive a two per cent increase in operational funding. That was announced prior to the election writ.

Audited financial statement drafts were presented. Listowel has a small surplus of $232,177 while Wingham has a small deficit of $201,498.

Wingham “entered into a Bankers Acceptance (BA) and Loan Interest Rate Swap agreement Mar. 31, 2022 for $1M with a term of 20.75 years at an indicative all-in rate of 4.28 per cent. As of Oct. 30, 2022 when the Royal Bank of Canada mortgage balance of $2,595,000 comes due it will be incorporated into the borrowing amount for a total of $3,580,000 with a 20-year amortization and swap term ending on Oct. 30, 2042.”

The Listowel Memorial Hospital Foundation’s annual donation was over $780,000. That funded a replacement mammography machine in diagnostic imaging and another palliative care room on the first floor. With that, the total the Foundation has received is now over $12 million.

Non-urgent patient transport issues

The LWHA continues to have issues with its non-urgent patient transport provider. These issues are impacting various levels of the hospital alliance, including EMS, staffing, and access. In response, they are working on a new contract, but it is likely most of the work will continue to be provided by the same provider. They want to address these issues before entering a new contract.

Fisher Clinic

After a previous presentation on a new addition to the Fisher Clinic did not meet board members’ expectations, new plans “were sufficient to allow for more staff and physician engagement in the clinic design.” Clinic staff will assess the flow of the addition in the plan and give their feedback to the architect.

Huron Perth Diabetes Program move

The Huron Perth Diabetes Program (HPDP) have teams working in Wingham and Listowel for people who are newly diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or gestational diabetes. In Wingham, the program has been running out of the Family Health Team (FHT), but with a notice of retirement within the Listowel team, a decision to move the program under FHT programming was made. The transition will occur over the summer with no impact to patients.

New Executive Director

Robin Spence-Haffner was named the new executive director of the North Perth North Huron Family Health Team. She started in her new role at the beginning of May.

COVID-19 outbreaks

Local long-term care and retirement homes experienced outbreaks over the course of the month. These outbreaks had a big effect on patient flow, as the homes were unable to accept admissions from the community and hospitals. The LWHA is continuing to monitor outbreaks.

Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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