Staffing issues at the Lakes District Health Centre are causing operation hours for emergency services to be sporadic after hours and on weekends, causing a concern from community leaders.
“The situation at our local hospital as we undergo yet another wave of COVID, like many hospitals in the north, is quite dire. Exhaustion from the pandemic, staff shortages, and sick time are all playing a role in creating a very stressful situation for healthcare in the north,” Mayor Dolores Funk told Lakes District News.
“In the short-term, we have had discussions with the province and with Northern Health and have been assured that all hands are on deck to help us through this crisis. Northern Health has sent a Situation Response Team to Burns Lake to help. In the medium and long-term, we are working with Northern Health to identify ways that we can assist them in their efforts to attract and retain staff. We will also be meeting with the Northern Interior Rural Divisions of Family Practice (NRID) to determine ways that we can work alongside their efforts to attract and retain to the Lakes District Hospital,” she continued
This decision to contact Dr. James Card of the NRID comes after a Jan. 4 letter from NRID to council, indicating a desire to help the village with recruitment initiatives.
“Northern Interior Rural Division of Family Practice would like to work with the Village of Burns Lake to help provide a red carpet experience for each medical student, resident, nurse practitioner student and locum that visits your community,” Dr. Card said in the letter.
The NRID recently initiated a new graduate recruitment and retention strategy that is based on building relationships with the Northern Medical Program, UNBC medical students and residents, as well as those still in high school and looking at future career options.
This recruitment program, from which the village hopes to tap into, is broken into short, medium and long-term strategies. In the short-term, the target is residents in their final year of residency at either UNBC or the Northern Medical program. It involves a half-day talk by NIRD physicians to final year residents discussing community, demographics, work environment, and medical community of the local area.
The medium-term strategies focus on teaching and presenting to non-graduating medical students, as well increasing elective options.
The longer-term strategies are more focused towards high school students, and involve guest lectures as well as division involvement within high schools in communities.
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