Three new CCH ER doctors start in July

Cornwall Community Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Lorne Scharf speaks during an AGM on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Scharf tells Cornwall Newswatch that three new doctors will be starting in the ER next month, hopefully bringing an end to a staffing shortage. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Three new doctors will be joining the Cornwall Community Hospital’s emergency department in July.

The new hires, coupled with two doctors returning from an absence leave and maternity, and two residents from the Adopt a Medical Resident program, will boost the ranks by seven doctors next month and hopefully bring an end to the manpower shortage that hit the hospital in late May.

“We already have our July schedule and those holes are being filled in,” Chief of Staff Dr. Lorne Scharf said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

Scharf says the ER continues to do well with getting patients into in-patient beds and off ambulance stretchers. “Where we’re suffering are in the areas where having an empty line in the schedule really hurts us.”

The chief of staff says they have compensated by hiring a physician assistant and doctors are moving their shifts around. “Our 10 hour night shift, I did Monday (June 10) night, I came in two hours early and stayed a half an hour late. We’re all doing as much as we can to do extra hours.”

Scharf says they were doing okay until the “manpower crisis” in late May.

“These long waits overnight. I hate hearing about them. I hate when people are rightfully upset about them. But hopefully we’re making a big dent in that soon with our new staff,” he told CNW.

He says the three new FTE (full-time equivalent) hires are “well trained” and have fellowships in emergency medicine from McGill in Montreal, Queen’s in Kingston and the University of Toronto.

“We’re hiring good people.”

“Our manpower plan is actually looking pretty good and we’re, I think, at the end of the crisis, hopefully,” Dr. Scharf added.

There were 51,566 people who had treatment in the McConnell Avenue emergency department in 2018 – roughly 141 a day on average.