Norfolk doctor named permanent chief of staff at Simcoe, Hagersville hospitals

Dr. Robin Martin-Godelie will stay on as permanent chief of staff at Norfolk General and West Haldimand General hospitals.

The hospital board unanimously decided to keep Martin-Godelie in the role she held on an interim basis at the Simcoe and Hagersville hospitals since last November.

Martin-Godelie has been on staff at Norfolk General since 2005 and has chaired the hospital’s medical quality committee. She is also a board member with Norfolk Haldimand Community Hospice, a group working to build a hospice to serve the two counties.

“I am deeply committed to continuing on our journey of team-building and partnership to strengthen patient experiences and access to local health-care services for everyone who lives in the communities that we serve,” Martin-Godelie said in a press release.

Her predecessor, Dr. Amir Sheik-Yousouf, departed last November after making headlines for taking a month-long vacation in Dubai in December 2020, despite the province actively discouraging non-essential travel to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Martin-Godelie leads a medical staff desperate for reinforcements. The emergency department at Norfolk General closed for 24 hours in late October due to a lack of nurses, and the hospital warned more temporary closures are likely this winter.

“Our staff and physicians have worked at an exhausting pace for two and a half years,” Martin-Godelie said.

“We are grateful for their hard work and unwavering commitment to caring for our community.”

The demands on health-care workers continue to rise due to “an unusually high seasonal surge in viral illnesses,” which has seen emergency rooms “frequently” at 100 per cent capacity in recent months, the hospital announced on Wednesday.

To ease the strain, the hospital says only residents in need of immediate medical attention should go to the emergency department.

If possible, residents with non-urgent medical issues should contact their family doctor, call or chat online with a registered nurse through Health Connect Ontario or visit a walk-in clinic.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator