Wed. May 25th, 2022

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is asking hospital directors, local health care professionals and other health care organizations for input on the implementation of vaccine mandates for hospital staff.

Many hospitals across the province have already adopted their own mandates that go beyond the current provincial policy of having hospital staff vaccinated or subjected to frequent testing.

Ford’s letter to health officials said some have suggested a provincial mandate is needed, but he wants to investigate the consequences of any staff shortages.

“Any decision will have to balance the risks associated with COVID-19 for hospitals, with the risk of further exacerbating health resource challenges and the risks these may pose to the sector’s ongoing delivery of high quality care,” he wrote. .

“We are already seeing other Canadian jurisdictions that have implemented mandatory vaccine policies, including British Columbia and Quebec, soften or delay their implementation date.”

Ford said at a news conference Friday that according to the latest estimates, 15 percent of the health care workforce is unvaccinated.

But the several hospitals that have already fired unvaccinated staff or placed them on unpaid leave through their own mandates see numbers far below that.

The Eastern Ontario Children’s Hospital said Friday that 98.7 percent of its staff have complied with its policy, and 47 people, including 29 part-time and casual employees, were placed on leave.

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru clinic at Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ont., Friday, May 28, 2021. (Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press)

Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa said Friday that 98 percent of its employees have chosen to be vaccinated and it will place 37 unvaccinated employees, mostly part-time or leisure employees, on leave. This figure includes 11 nurses, two of whom are full-time.

Cornwall Community Hospital said on Friday it expects to have 33 employees, or 2.8 percent of its active workforce, on leave.

Hotel -Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor, Ont., Laid off 24 employees – or two percent of staff – this week for non-compliance with its policies. Cambridge Memorial Hospital put 51 employees on leave – about three per cent of its staff.

Hospitals have said the numbers are such that they do not affect surgeries or patient care.

In his letter, Ford asked health executives to provide input on the potential effects of a vaccine mandate, anything else the government could do to increase vaccine intake among health care workers, and whether unvaccinated staff could be shifted to non-frontline roles.

He also asked hospital managers specifically what impact a mandatory policy would have on diagnostic procedures or optional surgeries.

“What will it do with the system months along the way?” Ford said Friday at its news conference.

“What will it do when people go in there for cancer surgery, (or) diagnosis? What will it do to our healthcare system as a whole? So those are the answers that I ask CEOs send back to us.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.