Gray Bruce Health Services sees unprecedented demand

Gray Bruce Health Services is experiencing unprecedented demand for services.

A statement from GBHS explained that the volume and acuity of patients visiting GBHS’s six emergency departments, along with vacancies and a lack of available beds, are causing pressures on the system both within of GBHS and throughout the health system.

Beds have been added at the Owen Sound Hospital, although staffing pressures limit the number of beds that can be opened. A COVID-19 outbreak at Lion’s Head Hospital is
temporarily preventing any new admission to this site. As bed capacity issues continue, elective surgeries for patients who require overnight stays may have to be postponed. All
emergency surgeries and elective day surgeries will continue as normal.

Complicating the issue, the lack of availability of long-term care beds and home care support makes out-of-hospital transfers difficult. More than 50 hospitalized patients across the company are considered alternate level of care, meaning they no longer need hospital care and are awaiting out-of-hospital transfers. GBHS is reaching out to regional partners to repatriate patients where possible, and families are urged to ensure they have discharge plans in place so patients can be transferred as soon as it is safe.

“As hospital ERs in our region continue to experience unplanned closures, GBHS and other regional partners have very limited staff resources and bed capacity to support these additional strains on the system,” said the GBHS President and CEO, Gary Sims. “I am extremely proud of the staff and doctors working under difficult circumstances, and grateful for the
continued support for patients and families as we strive to provide care.

GBHS has so far been able to keep emergency services open 24/7 and remind the public to call 9-1-1 in the event of a medical emergency. For minor issues that can be handled by a
family doctor, try this option first or call Health Access Ontario. This 24/7 phone line allows patients to speak directly to a nurse for advice and can be reached by dialing 8-1-1.
Virtual visits with a GBHS doctor are also available every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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