Toronto hospital staffing problems lead to warning for intensive care beds – Toronto

A Toronto hospital has reached intensive care capacity as Ontario healthcare facilities continue to struggle with high patient volumes and staffing issues.

Gillian Howard, communications director for University Health Network (UHN), told Global News that Toronto General Hospital was under an intensive care bed alarm.

The warning means the hospital’s three intensive care units are “at full bed capacity and/or have limited human resources to keep all physical intensive care beds open and operating safely,” Howard explained.

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Toronto hospital faces ‘tight’ staffing as pressures on healthcare increase

She specified that a staff shortage – caused by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic – had caused the warning to be issued.

UHN is currently recruiting to fill 371 nurse vacancies for both full-time and part-time positions.

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“You also need to be aware that there are different roles within nursing, so some of these roles require specific skills and experience,” Howard said.

The number of vacancies amounts to almost 10 percent of the approximately 4,000 nursing positions at UHN.

Howard said pre-planned vacations and COVID-19 illness among staff contributed to the overstretched human resources.

Ontario’s health minister, Sylvia Jones, said on Tuesday she is working to accredit more nurses trained abroad to work in the province’s top-loaded hospitals.

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Ontario’s health minister wants to speed up accreditation of international nurses during closures

“The plan is what we’ve honestly done for the past four years, making historic investments to make sure we have enough health workers to cover those services,” Jones said.

Jones praised more than 10,000 health workers added since the start of the pandemic. That includes 7,000 nurses and 2,400 personal attendants, a spokesperson said.

“When we’re alert in an intensive care bed, we actively triage patients who need specialized ICU care,” Howard said.

— with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: Ontario hospitals are scaling back operations due to staff shortages

Hospitals in Ontario are scaling back due to staff shortages

Hospitals in Ontario are scaling back due to staff shortages

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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