KMHC staffing situation a concern, but not because of vaccine mandate: director

·2 min read

After Quebec extended the deadline for health-care workers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus until November 15, citing the damage losing more than 22,000 unvaccinated health-care workers would do to an already suffering health-care system, some wondered if Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre (KMHC) would be in the same boat.

“Well, we are short-staffed already, so it’s not that big a concern in the grand scheme of things,” said KMHC executive director Lisa Westaway. “We have eight staffers who aren’t vaccinated or fully vaccinated, so it’s not really a huge difference as far as staffing levels go because we are already short-staffed to begin with.”

Of those eight employees, four are clinicians and four aren’t, so it’s evenly split between front-line clinicians in patient care and other areas and two of those people will be able to work from home for the foreseeable future, she added.

“In terms of shortages, yes, we’re experiencing that, but the vaccine mandate won’t have a major impact on our services,” Westaway said.

The director added that all eight employees who are not vaccinated will be offered employment elsewhere or be given the opportunity to transition to another job.

“They’ll be offered assistance in finding another job. We’d like to take a more human approach, and so anyone who needs assistance will get it. This isn’t a punishment,” Westaway said.

Last week, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube extended the October 15 deadline for all health-care workers in the province to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until November 15, citing the drain that removing more than 22,000 non-vaccinated individuals out of an already crippled health-care system that is lying in tatters after more than 18 months of COVID-19 pandemic.

Westaway said there’s no way around it – the COVID-19 pandemic will leave an imprint on the population that will resonate for generations.

“It’s difficult for all of us,” she said.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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