Patients at Niagara Health will continue to experience longer wait times and delays in service as we respond to ongoing pressures. Severe staffing shortages, an increasing demand for hospital services and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is adding stress to our teams and our programs across all our sites.
We are having difficulties with staffing levels. Currently we are aggressively recruiting to fill 608 job vacancies across Niagara Health. However, there is a limited availability of trained healthcare workers across Ontario and Canada. These shortages are exacerbated by growing numbers of staff and physicians in self-isolation or sick due to COVID.
We also have more than 100 patients staying in our hospital waiting for care in the community including home and community care, and long-term care. This creates challenges with the timely transfer of patients from our Emergency Departments to other areas of the hospital and for discharging patients. Like hospitals, community agencies are also facing serious health human resource pressures, which create additional delays across the system.
We are seeing the pressures most immediately in our Emergency Departments, with our staff and physicians caring for more people with more complex care needs than ever before.
We recognize that waiting can be difficult and stressful for patients and families, and we are asking for understanding and patience.
Our staff and physicians are doing absolutely everything they can. We are grateful and recognize that they are dealing with stress and burnout after working at an exhausting pace for nearly two and a half years throughout the pandemic. Our team needs support to continue to provide safe, quality care. The demands on them continue to be high and they need time to recover.
Niagara Health, along with all hospitals in the province, is considering how we can align our services to our available staffing levels. We will consider all options to relieve pressures on our staff and physicians while prioritizing the delivery of safe care for patients requiring critical, emergency and acute care services.
Remember, there are healthcare options in the community.
Use the Emergency Department for emergencies only. Be prepared for long waits if your visit is not urgent. For all other health concerns:
- Contact your family doctor or call Health Connect Ontario, to chat with a registered nurse 24/7
via phone or web chat.
- Make a virtual appointment for urgent care to speak with a Niagara Health clinician Monday to Friday from
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by visiting UrgentCareOntario.ca