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Staff at Picton and Trenton hospitals second to none

During the past six months, much has been written in the media with regard to the $10 million deficit and the severe service cuts that have taken place especially at PECM Hospital and Trenton Memorial Hospital.

What has been forgotten in all of this are the staff at both hospitals. When beds are cut, it follows that staff are cut. I have worked with many of the staff at PECMH and I can tell you that they are a family. Rather then give you my observations, I have asked two local doctors to give me their thoughts on the staff.

Dr. Amber Hayward Stewart has a family practice in Picton and works in the emergency departments at both PECMH and Trenton Memorial (she is head of Trenton emerg). About the staff, she told me: “Not only are they dedicated, adaptable and compassionate, they too are mothers, and wives, grandmoms, aunts and contribute to the community in a number of ways, beyond their jobs at the hospital. I would have to say that the nurses at Picton and Trenton are second to none. They have endured all the changes pushed down from administration while having little say. They have seen their nursing roles erode from caring for patients to becoming computer operators punching in stats, and now they (QHC) want to make them all lab technicians (Nurses actually do all the cassette work with the Point of Care System). When beds get cut, so do experienced nurses. While some new grads are available, very few are getting full time positions (as that would mean the corporation would have to pay for benefits, etc). The above statements also apply to male nurses who are also great.”

Dr. Elizabeth Christie, who is head of the Prince Edward County Family Health Team, and also has a family practice in Picton, said the following: “I think that it is safe to say that the staff at PECMH – kitchen, cleaning, nursing, clerks – maintain very positive morale by working hard as a team, taking a moment to get to know each other, mentoring one another and protecting each other. The positive work-place experience is demonstrated in part by the longevity of many staff at the hospital. They are dedicated, care about patients first and foremost, good natured, and keep their sense of humour despite all the difficulty. I regularly hear senior nurses speaking about the younger ones now facing cuts with a great deal of concern.”

I might add that the sick time at PECMH is very low compared to Belleville. One more staff member has been sequestered to Belleville. Our dietician who has worked at PECMH for almost 20 years will be leaving PECMH next month. The Family Health Team will probably be able to see some of these patients but others will have to make yet one more trip to Belleville for counselling. As a point of interest PECMH has approximately 85 staff, half of whom are nursing.

I have attempted along with Dr. Hayward Stewart and Dr. Christie to put faces to these cuts. As a sign of support to the staff who have served you so well over the years, please do what you can to stop the decimation and support your local hospital.

Fran Renoy, Picton

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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