At the 15th meeting of the Rotary Club of Picton on Tuesday via Zoom, guest speaker Stacey Daub, CEO of Quinte Health Care (QHC), shared a brief update on what’s happening across the four hospitals as well as an interactive session around the future of QHC.
When speaking about COVID-19 and vaccination rates, CEO Daub added how vaccinations can be a very controversial issue sometimes. Subsequent to Daub’s presentation last week, the announced they had terminated the employment of 30 people of the some 2,400 who work at the four sites because they did not comply with the corporation’s new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
“When the virus is high in the community it often means then it will be high in the work places or in hospitals or in other places where people congregate,” stated Daub. “The more we do as a community to manage COVID and keep the COVID numbers low the better off we are in the hospitals because it just reduces the volume of COVID cases that are going to come in. You only need to look west to see what happens when communities prematurely think they’ve beat this virus with reducing public heath measures such as social distancing and we really trying to beat the bushes in terms of vaccinations. I know vaccinations are a very controversial issues sometimes in families, sometimes in communities, but generally our uptake locally has been exemplary.”
What the real challenge for QHC right now is what Daub called the after effects, or the ongoing lingering effects, of COVID that we couldn’t have imagine a couple of years ago.
“I know many business owners or people who work in health and social service organizations in our communities are experiencing what we are experiencing,” Daub said. “Quite a large and significant health human resource shortage and crisis is happening so we are working hard to support our teams and individuals through that. I kind of describe this as being 10 years in the making in terms of the numbers of physicians we’ve graduated, the number of nurses, lab technologists, so we have shortages across the board. However QHC has also recruited over 400 new staff to the organization in the last year.”
Another area of concern Daub has in addition to frontline healthcare workers is their primary care partners.
“In Prince Edward County, our family health team has done an amazing job in the last year,” expressed Daub. “They’ve been doing everything from running COVID assessment centres to vaccination centres and they’re also the people who support our emergency department as well as our inpatient units. We’re really looking at how to partner with primary care and support them both in terms of working with them directly but also talking to County Council and others about how to support and recruit not only physicians but nursing and other individuals to our communities. What our staff and physicians will say is they need housing, they need child care and they have a pretty interesting list of things that most of you wouldn’t be surprised at in terms of support to join our community and work in our community.QHC is working hard behind the scenes in terms of supporting staff as well as the opportunity to recruit new people.”
Daub then went into an interactive session with Rotary asking questions such as:
What do you value most about QHC and your community hospital and what we bring to the community that we serve?
When you think about you local hospital, what value does it bring to the community to you personally, to your families?
What do you think we could be doing better as an organization and with our partners, to meet the evolving needs of our patients, our residents, our families and communities?
What are some of the other things going on in your community that you think we should be aware of and be thinking about?
Daud said senior staff have been using a bee analogy to describe how they are going about the ongoing strategic planning processes and, currently, the organization is in the pollination phase which calls for residents, staff, partners and others to offer insights and ideas about the future of the new PECMH.
“Following this very extensive process where we hope to meet with thousands of people across our communities, we have tended to try and find the most important themes that we’ve heard from our communities and have some very focused sessions called strategy hives,” Daub explained. “We were bringing anybody who is interested in a topic of interest to the community, together to really think more in depth about that topic and think about the directions Quinte could take that would really deliver on what the community has told us.
Daub said remaining element is to finalize the strategy strategy and launch it in 2022.
“This is really a critical pillar in the next steps for me and the organization in terms of doing longer term planning for our hospitals. Following this process we are hoping to undertake a process related to our clinical services and growing and developing those over time and we’ll be coming back out to the community and others to talk about that as well,” Daub said.
For more information on QHC please visit www.qhc.on.ca