Response to Community Concerns About the Durham Site

Last week, we made the difficult but necessary decision to transition 10 inpatient beds currently at the Durham hospital site to the Walkerton and Kincardine sites. This is due to a critical shortage of staff, which is anticipated to intensify during the summer season and will come into effect on June 3rd.  

We understand your concerns and want to assure you that this decision was made with the safety of our patients and staff top of mind. The South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) leadership team and Board reviewed all options before coming to this decision. We do not have enough staff to keep both inpatient care and emergency services open at the Durham site. Relocating these beds allows us to protect access to urgent and emergent services in Durham.  

We are committed to keeping the Durham site open and providing care at that site to the community. Patients in need of urgent medical attention can continue to access the Durham site daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

We will continue to work with both the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health to ensure all SBGHC sites continue to provide care to our communities.  

We know that many of you have questions about this change and we want to hear from you directly. On May 14th, we will be hosting a community webinar, and details will be shared shortly. In the meantime, please find responses to some frequently asked questions below. 

Questions & Answers 

Are you closing the Durham site?  

  • No. We are not closing the Durham site through this change. 
  • I want to assure you that we are committed to keeping the Durham site open and providing high quality care to our patients.  
  • Patients in need of urgent medical attention can continue to access the Durham site daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

What does this mean for patients who come to the Durham site and need inpatient care? 

  • Patients can continue to access care at the Durham site. 
  • Patients who need to be admitted will be transferred to another hospital such as South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Chesley or Walkerton sites. 
  • This process is already in place to ensure our patients are getting the right care in the right place.  

How is SBGHC handing job applications for nurses?  

  • We currently have a shortage of registered nurses (RNs) and review every new application we receive.  
  • Registered nurses are highly skilled and have completed more training than other nursing classifications such as registered practical nurses (RPNs).  
  • All candidates who are qualified for the position and meet the criteria are considered for a job at South Bruce Grey Health Centre. 
  • In the last six months have received 16 applications for RN positions in Durham.  
    • 12 of these applications were from out of country/out of region applicants who were not aware of the location of the job, and not interested in relocating or interviewing.  
    • Of the four other applicants, one did not meet the hiring requirements for the positions, two are currently in the interview process, and one was hired. 

Why was this change announced so quickly? 

  • These changes are not taking place until June 3 so our teams can prepare for the safe and smooth movement of patients and the beds. 
  • We must make these changes before the summer as we do not have enough staff to keep both inpatient care and emergency services open. By doing this, we hope to avoid regular closures at the Durham Site.  
  • We are making this change to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff. 
  • By announcing now, we will be able to create stable staffing schedules for the summer.   

Did you consider alternative options before making this decision? 

  • We explored all options available to us in advance of making this decision. 
  • After reviewing all options, the SBGHC leadership team and Board agreed that this was the only option to keep the site open with adequate staff. 
  • We have been undertaking recruitment initiatives for years and have been complementing our staffing with agency nurses. 
  • Despite these efforts, we still do not have enough staff to keep both inpatient care and emergency services at the Durham site. 
  • This decision was our only option and was made in the best interest of our patients and staff. 

What does this mean for nursing staff at the Durham site? 

  • Nursing staff will continue working at the Durham site daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, providing the incredible care they are known for.   
  • The transition of the inpatient beds will not result in any job loss.  

Was this decision made for financial reasons? 

  • No, this decision is not about cutting costs. 
  • The decision to transition the inpatient beds from Durham was made due to a critical shortage of staff at the site.  
  • Simply put, we do not have enough staff to keep both inpatient care and emergency services at the Durham site.  
  • Relocating these beds is what will allow us to keep the Durham site open at the with the staff we have.  
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