Haliburton author Danielle Foisy has a new book on the challenges of having a spouse with depression. It's written from a Christian perspective. /Photo submitted by the author

Staffing emergency dept. difficult

By Jenn Watt

Published by May 31 2016

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Haliburton Highlands Health Services board meeting on Thursday May 26 in Haliburton.

Dr. Greg Karaguesian chief of staff told the board that the emergency department is 95 per cent covered for summer but he foresees issues in the fall.

Largely the shortfall has to do with changing ideas about what local doctors should be doing.
“A lot of physicians that work in the office don’t work in emerg” said Karaguesian.

“I don’t think it’s unique to Haliburton. Young doctors do not want to do emergency work.”

He said that 15 or 20 years ago working both as a family doctor in a small town and doing shifts in the emergency department was expected but that is no longer the case.

Currently locums are used to fill in the gaps when local doctors aren’t available.

Interim CEO Carolyn Plummer said the doctor recruitment committee was aware of the issue and had discussed changing tactics.

Changes to the terms of reference for the quality committee were accepted by the board which further reinforce the board’s role in human resources.

Quality committee chairman Jeff Gollob presented the amendments to the board which included receiving quarterly HR reports reviewing specific HR indicators and oversight of management initiatives for maintaining a healthy work environment.

“We had a discussion at the committee level … on the question of the corporation’s human resources function and how the oversight of human resources should be managed at the board level” said Gollob.

He explained that the quality committee currently receives an HR report annually but that reviews should be done throughout the year.

“The discussion on HR oversight resulted in a recommendation that the terms of reference for the quality committee should be amended to emphasize the importance of the board’s role in oversight of HR matters” he said.

Community Advisory Committee chairman David Coulson told the board that his committee had been discussing the challenges that lack of transportation posed to county residents.

Even though Community Support Services offers transportation “there are limits and guidelines” he said which mean not everyone can get to where they’re going efficiently.

He noted that recent initiatives to connect people to transportation were good steps but that not everyone has the Internet or a computer to check these websites.

Those looking for a ride to a medical appointment or for other reasons can go online to www.transportationhaliburtoncounty.ca. Those without access to a computer can call 705-455- 2665 or toll-free 1-844-771-RIDE (7433).

Interim CEO Carolyn Plummer said that HHHS is still waiting to hear from the Ministry of Health on the palliative wing.

“From what I understand all of the components of our most recent submission have been reviewed” she said. No questions or requests for more information have come in.

HHHS has now been waiting longer than expected for approvals and Plummer said a local politician has been asked to help move things forward with the ministry.

There has also not yet been word on whether Haliburton will be receiving rural health hub funding.

The HHHS annual general meeting is planned for June 23 which also happens to be the day the Haliburton hospital opened 80 years ago. Plummer told the board that there is a special celebration being prepared for this and several other milestones for HHHS. Those festivities will be coupled with the AGM. Details to come.