With the two-year anniversary of the closure of the obstetrics department at the Pontiac Hospital fast approaching, CHIP 101.9 spoke with Pontiac Warden Jane Toller to discuss the issue.
Following several breaches in service in 2019 and early 2020, regional health authority CISSSO announced the decision on February 21, 2020 to “temporarily” close the department until September of that year. Just weeks later, the province was hit by the pandemic and the deadline came and went. The reason cited for the closure was due to a lack of nursing staff, however, several doctors trained in obstetrics are also required.
Spokespeople for the CISSSO have stated that they are working to restore the service, even going so far as to say it’s their top priority after COVID-19.
Following the announcement of the department’s closure the MRC formed a committee to look at solutions to the issue. Toller said that they have discussed many ways to address the lack of staff, but an increase in nurse salaries in order to compete with Ontario is the primary change that they’re advocating for.
Toller said that CISSSO’s Director General Josée Filion had told her that after the pandemic, the re-opening of the department was her top priority. When asked if she truly believed that was the case, given the size of the Pontiac compared to the rest of the system, she said that she took Filion at her word.
The full interview with Toller is available here.