The Warden of the MRC Pontiac, Jane Toller, confirmed what many people suspected, the obstetrics department at the Pontiac Hospital located in Shawville, will not be available in January as planned. Jane Toller attended a virtual meeting of the Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux (CISSS) de l’Outaouais during which she said she addressed the issue. On the other hand, Jane Toller mentioned that she obtained the word of the CEO of the CISSS de l’Outaouais, Josée Fillion, that it was still a priority.
Jane Toller reiterates that salary conditions are, in her opinion, the main problem in attracting staff. “We will not be able to open at the beginning of January because we have not been able to hire enough nurses and midwives. I also expressed that the main obstacle we face is the pay gap between Quebec and Ontario for nurses and midwives. I mentioned to CISSSO that we understand that the second wave of COVID-19 has been much higher than expected and that saving lives must be their number one priority. However, I asked Josée Filion, President and CEO of CISSSO, if she was committed to making the reopening of the obstetrics department in Shawville a top priority and she replied that they will make that commitment. I also spoke to André Fortin about the possibility of speaking to the nurses’ union to discuss the proposed pilot project. This is an issue that only affects the MRC Pontiac, no other hospital in the Outaouais has a closed obstetrics department, "said Jane Toller.
Jane Toller reaffirmed that she wants to see the obstetrics department back up and running as soon as possible. “Regarding the planned reopening date, the answer is as soon as possible. Once the salary issue is settled, we hope to have 12 nurses, 2 midwives and 3 doctors. The MRC-CISSSO committee will continue to meet every two weeks and our discussions will also focus on the expected retirement dates of several physicians. We need to have a contingency plan to ensure these positions can be filled on time, ”said Jane Toller.
Towards a resolution of the MRC to support decentralization
Jane Toller also mentioned that the council of mayors of the MRC Pontiac will vote this Wednesday to support decentralization within the health services in the Outaouais. “This week we had our plenary meeting of the Regional Council of Mayors, where Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt spoke about the challenges that have been caused by the centralization of health services in our region. At our public council next Wednesday, we will present a unanimous resolution to support the demand for decentralization, which could bring some local control back to the CLSCs and the Pontiac Hospital, "said Jane Toller. The MRC Pontiac meeting will take place next Wednesday December 16 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the MRC Pontiac Facebook page.