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Ontario asks family medical clinics to work nights, weekends to help overwhelmed hospitals

by News Desk
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According to a government memo obtained by The Canadian Press, Ontario has asked thousands of family health workers to work nights and weekends to reduce the burden on children’s hospitals.

The surge in “difficult and complex” respiratory illnesses predicted by health workers has come true, Nadia Surani, director of the Ministry of Health’s primary care department, said in a memo to family health teams.

Influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 are circulating in all parts of the state, Sulani wrote in a memo sent Monday.

“This scenario has contributed to the pressure on our healthcare system, especially in the pediatrics sector, and we anticipate a large amount of pressure across our healthcare system now and over the winter,” Sulani said. is writing

“I am writing to ask for your support and request your organization to provide clinical services seven days a week, including evening availability, to meet the needs of your patients. in a place appropriate to their health concerns.”

The extended hours will help “reduce the strain on emergency departments,” she wrote.

Children’s hospitals across the state are well over capacity with children flooding emergency rooms and intensive care units with flu and RSV.

Major pediatric hospitals in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and London, Ontario have canceled surgeries and redeployed staff to intensive care units, emergency departments and general wards.

Many clinics have already extended hours

Many clinics across the province are already offering extended hours to deal with the onslaught of patients with respiratory illnesses, the Ontario Family Health Team Association said in a memo to members.

The government memo was not a directive to work 24/7, the association said.

“In discussions with the ministry, this memo is not intended to be a directive or prescriptive, but specifically on how to access care for sick children, with an emphasis on getting care initially through the primary care team, and not by patients. ‘Patients should not be treated in hospitals unless necessary,’ the association wrote.

The government memo upset Dr. Michelle Cohen, a family physician who works for the Lakeview Family Health team in Brighton, Ontario.

“In my opinion, we’ve gone above and beyond as all primary care and all health care has. This is pretty aggressive.

Their clinic had already been working long hours, and it was a full two and a half years of work.

“My night clinic last night was full of sick, infected children,” Cohen said. are flooded with respiratory infections.”

A recent study by the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that the average overtime hours for healthcare workers across the country was the highest in more than a decade.

State thanks health workers, minister says

A spokeswoman for Health Secretary Sylvia Jones said the government has thanked health workers for their “all-out” approach to dealing with the current surge in respiratory illnesses.

“Recognizing that not all Ontarians will have access to primary care for their children during the normal work week or during normal working hours, Hannah Jensen is committed to addressing the needs of patients, especially sick children,” said Hannah Jensen. We have asked organizations to expand their clinical services to meet the demand.” .

“This will avoid unnecessary hospital visits and make emergency departments available to those who need urgent care.”

Primary health care providers are covered through OHIP, and providers can contact the ministry about unusual costs associated with extended hours, Jensen said.

Ontario’s pediatric ICU had more patients than it had beds last week, according to provincial data.

Also, statistics from Acute Care Enhanced Surveillance, an Ontario-wide system that monitors hospital registration records in real time, show that children and adolescents visit emergency departments at two to three times the normal rate during this time. I am undergoing medical examination.

Over the past week, there has been a slight downward trend in children going to emergency departments for respiratory illnesses.

Ontario Health, the agency that oversees the state’s health care system, recently directed the state’s general hospitals to admit children over the age of 14 who need urgent care. I also instructed them to accept children who no longer need to be in ICU but are not yet ready to go home.

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