Improvements to Patient Care at Emergency Department
By Donna Faye
This past summer saw the departure of six emergency physicians from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). Some left to pursue educational opportunities, others to return to home communities and others to satisfy personal and family obligations.
The good news is that, since June, the Emergency Department (ED) has undertaken a number of initiatives, including the successful recruitment of full-time and locum positions, as part of the department’s ongoing commitment to patient care.
TBRHSC, the Thunder Bay Emergency Physicians Inc., and the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) are collaborating in their recruitment efforts. A steering committee to lead recruitment efforts has been formed. Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, is the Chair of the committee. “We have been working, and continue to work, to identify both short and long term strategies for the recruitment of physicians within the Emergency Department, as well as to retain them,” Kennedy says. “We have made some initial progress and expect to be successful with other initiatives as we continue to provide quality care during our manpower shortfall.”
Efforts include identifying and recommending strategies to support improved coordination of recruitment activities. To assist with the coordinated physician recruitment efforts, Dr. Michael Chang, CCFP (EM) has been appointed “Recruitment Lead” for the ED at TBRHSC.
Since June, a new full-time ED physician, Dr. Lansdell, has been recruited, as well as four new long-term locums and 16 short-term locums. A locum is a physician who assumes another physician’s clinical duties on a temporary basis, as short as a few hours or as long as a year. While this addresses short term physician shortages, a long term recruitment strategy is also being planned which meets all clinical, academic and research needs at TBRHSC.
ED physician recruitment is a challenge faced by many remote and rural communities. Dr. David Wood, the ED's Chief and Medical Lead, says locum support is important while recruitment of ED physicians continues. “Locums are an important element of the physician workforce, particularly in communities with limited healthcare human resources,” he says. “Locums allow the full-time physician to take time off for travel, illness, professional development or to help fill a vacancy.”
TBRHSC recognizes and thanks the staff and physicians of the Emergency Department for their ongoing commitment and dedication to patient care. This past summer, the team determined that it would not let the staffing shortage affect patient wait times, and as a group of emergency physicians, agreed to increase the percentage of shifts that they would be working in order to maintain seamless ED coverage to our community and region!
TBRHSC welcomes the following physicians to the Emergency Department.
New Short-term Locums:
Returning EPs for Short-term Locums: