HHHS polls community on staff shortages

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Health workers are still awaiting promised pandemic pay. File photo.

Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) wants community input as it searches for new ways to recruit and retain healthcare workers. 

HHHS launched an online survey May 16 “to gather ideas about incentives and programs to help the organization attract new healthcare workers and keep current staff.” 

In a May 16 media release, HHHS president and CEO Carolyn Plummer said “with HHHS continuing to experience staffing shortages, we want to be sure to explore every possible option to recruit and retain the healthcare staff we need.” 

HHHS reports a 40 per cent shortage in coverage for all emergency department and hospital nursing shifts. 

There’s an approximately 25 per cent shortage in coverage for emergency department doctor shifts, which are being filled by HealthForce Ontario recruitment agency physicians. HHHS first announced the staff shortage in November 2021. 

“It’s important to note that HHHS has not made a decision about which emergency department would close, or what that closure would look like, and that the survey does not ask for feedback about which emergency department should reduce services,” said Plummer. “This decision will be extremely difficult to make and must be made based on the resources HHHS can reasonably expect to have in the shortterm.” 

All survey responses will be kept confidential. HHHS said more community consultation is incoming. “Community members and stakeholders can expect to be consulted about HHHS’ longer-term planning for its facilities and services. HHHS will continue to be guided by its mandate of delivering essential, high-quality health services to the residents, cottagers, and visitors of Haliburton County and the surrounding area, and our vision of being leaders in innovative rural health care,” states the media release. 

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HHHSRecruitandRetain and at Haliburton County Public Library locations.