Saturday, September 30, 2006

Emergency room dramas

The emergency department at the Grand River hospital in Waterloo almost closed tomorrow. The emergency department at St. Mary's in Kitchener was and is open.

Many of you know that there are not nearly enough family doctors in Ontario, but it turns out that there are also not nearly enough doctors willing to work the emergency room, either. There are only about half of the required doctors are available to work at either hospital. Compounding this problem is that Grand River pays the doctors on a per-patient basis, while St. Mary's pays a flat fee, and it seems that the doctors prefer the flat fee. Given the overwork at both emergency rooms, they were choosing to go to St. Mary's instead of Grand River, and so the Grand River emergency department was going to have to close.

So some miracle occurred today to keep the Grand River emergency department open. Hopefully that miracle is long-lasting. If not, then I don't know how they're going to solve this problem. The provincial government has taken some steps to try to get more doctors in Ontario, but I don't know if they've done enough. I don't know whether having only one emergency room in Kitchener-Waterloo is a good solution, unless the emergency rooms have enough space to handle double their current load without ridiculous wait times (which they already have).

This sucks a lot. The Grand River emergency department isn't all that good, but it is nice to have an emergency department at the hospital where my cancer centre is located. Hopefully they'll find a way to keep it open.

No comments: