Hospital CEO Andree Robichaud said gridlock is getting better at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and is encouraged that Health Minister Deb Matthews has now seen the problem first-hand.
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Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s CEO says she’s encouraged at Health Minister Deb Matthews’s sincerity about fixing the hospital’s ongoing gridlock problem.
Andree Robichaud on Wednesday took Matthews on a tour of the overcrowded facility and said now it’s a question of getting the partners to the table to find a solution.
For now she hopes patients understand the situation.
“We’re caring for our patients and we’ve expanded 10 beds in the hospital and St. Joe’s have deferred their renovations of their palliative care beds, so we’ve got capacity,” Robichaud said.
“We’re moving people in alcoves and right now we’re monitoring it on a day-to-day basis. We haven’t cancelled surgery, so it’s touch-and-go.”
As of Wednesday, the hospital had 53 alternative level of care patients within its walls, with six patients waiting in the emergency room for beds, on top of those in the alcoves and the 10 extra beds, which were filled immediately.
There were as many as 86 patients without a bed in early January, when the Local Health Integration Network stepped in with $300,000 to help reduce gridlock at the hospital.
“The volumes are down. We’re not seeing as many visits to the ER, so it’s better,” she said.
Asked if the fact that tenders for St. Joseph Care Group’s Centre of Excellence has come in well over budget might mean slashing alternative care beds from the plans, Matthews said it’s not part of any revamped plans.
“We need to do that,” she said. “You’re quite right, we have to do it within a certain budget, and I know St. Joe’s is very committed to taking another look at their plan so we can move forward to it. I know how important it is to the people of Thunder Bay, to the people of Northwestern Ontario, that this project gets off and running,” Matthews said.
“We need those beds. It’s as simple as that. And I’ve had a tour of the hospital here and seen with my own eyes that they’re capacity challenged. So we have to address that.”
In other health news, Matthews re-iterated the province at this time has no intention of providing additional funding to the Lakehead Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, saying there is plenty of patient capacity at the city’s other clinic, located about a kilometre away.
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