The Elk Point hospital is actively recruiting a third doctor to town. Elk Point’s Inter-Agency Health & Wellness Committee, Town of Elk Point’s Council representative, Councillor Lorne Young, reports that the committee met on Tuesday, December 15th, with some great news from the hospital; including repairing the hospital’s roof, expanding nurses training, increasing staffing, and recruiting a third doctor to the community.
The hospital received word from Alberta Health Services in late October that approval to repair the hospital’s roof had gone through and the facility immediately sent out tenders to find and hire a contractor. “Work on the roof is supposed to start in mid-January and be complete by the end of February,” reports Young. “It’s not the whole roof, but it’s quite a big chunk, over the pediatric area and nurses station.”
The hospital also reports that the nurses will be going through cross-training, says Young. “They’re cross-training nurses, registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) so that they can move from acute care, to long-term care, to home care; if needed.” The nurses in Elk Point would have training in various areas, which will resolve some staffing issues. Which ties into the next piece of good news, reports Young, there has been some excellent candidates to fill some key roles at the hospital. “Currently, they have four casual RNs, three from Saskatchewan and one from Alberta, who are going to be filling in some of the openings at the hospital. So, they have a bigger pool of casual labour to draw from for nurses.” On top of that there are two vacant positions at the hospital, which administration will be interviewing for this week, and will likely be filled over the course of a couple weeks. A locum nurse will be brought in from the end of December, until the first part of February to replace a nurse who is out on a temporary leave.
Young reports the hospital is also actively recruiting a third doctor, “this is Alberta Health Services and our facility manager, Kristen Peleshok have been working with our two doctors.” The doctors serving the community both run busy clients and split hospital shift duties. For relief time locum doctors are needed to allow for the doctors to take holidays. A third doctor in the community would be instrumental in allowing the doctors to ease their patient loads and share hospital shifts; while allowing for some downtime. “They’ve come to the conclusion that having a third doctor in town would benefit everyone; the community, both of our local doctors, everybody.”
Administration reported to the committee that there are quite a number of qualified applicants interested in joining the community. The recruitment process is in the early stages and it should take a few months. The hospital believes a new doctor will be in place sometime in the new year.
The Inter-Agency Health & Wellness Committee also reports that the Elk Point Health Care Centre is operating at almost 100 percent capacity continuously in the acute care beds. “There’s 12 beds available and typically they’re running close to full all the time,” says Young, “if anyone’s wondering if our hospital is underutilized, it is absolutely not.”