One Eastern Ontario ER closed overnights this weekend as Premier says 'everything on the table' to fix system
Emergency departments across the province have either shut down or reduced hours this summer because of a severe shortage of nurses.
The impact felt in rural areas like Alexandria, Ont., where Glengarry Memorial Hospital temporarily closes its emergency department overnights on weekends until Aug. 22.
"When we look at the weekend staffing, most of the challenges we were seeing were in the emergency and inability to staff overnight hours with any nurses," said Glengarry Memorial Hospital President Robert Alldred-Hughes.
The Montfort Hospital closed its emergency department overnights last weekend due to a staffing shortage, but plans to be open 24-hours a day this weekend.
"The fact the Montfort closed that should be a wake up call. That’s a city hospital with a busy ER," said Rachel Muir a registered nurse at Ottawa Hospital and the local bargaining unit president for Ontario Nurses’ Association. "They are not listening to us. If they were they would have started by showing us respect and recognizing the value of what health care workers have in the system."
Like several advocates, Muir wants the province to repeal Bill 124, a bill that provides nurses with just a one-per-cent wage increase.
This comes after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, "Everything is on the table" when reporters pressed him to declare where he stood on privatizing health care.
"Every single doc, every single nurse, every CEO I talk to says two things: it’s not a money issue, we have to do things differently," Ford said Friday.
The premier said no matter what the solutions, he won’t do anything without consulting health experts.
"There's one thing we'll guarantee: you'll always be covered by OHIP, not the credit card," Ford said. "Are we going to get creative? Absolutely."