Quinte Health’s CEO says she expects a busy summer at North Hastings Hospital, but the organization is working to minimize the chance of staff becoming overwhelmed.
Stacy Daub says the Bancroft-based hospital saw a rise in patient visits last cottage season. The message, that people should consider whether their health issues could be treated elsewhere before heading to the hospital, still applies.
“We expect that our emergency room visits will be at the same level or higher (this year),” she says. “Over the last five years, they’ve increased about 10 per cent.”
“We had a bit of a flattening during the pandemic, but they’ve roared right back. And we have about 14,000 visits to that hospital every year, with a disproportionate number in the summer. Our biggest challenge right now is from a physician perspective.”
Daub says Quinte Health is lobbying the province to increase numbers in a locum program, which allows physicians to work in cottage country hospitals temporarily in summer months. Daub says that program has helped Bancroft well in the past but needs a boost.
Daub adds that a new partnership with Loyalist College to train local nurses may also make a big difference in keeping the hospital well-staffed in the long run.