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Health Care Advisory

Dear Resident:

RE: Advisory – Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre & New World Island Clinic

As we all know, our health care system has been struggling across the Country, province and in Central NL. Some of which is a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, along with the Country’s aging population. There is a shortage of health care providers, not only in Central NL, but across the globe.  The NWI Clinic & NDBMH Centre are no exception. We have grave concerns over the future of these two facilities, both of which are experiencing similar issues as other health care facilities across the province.

Two main concerns present themselves, one being recruitment, and the other being retention of health care providers such as physicians, nurses, allied health workers, paramedics and social workers. Access to local health care is a pillar of our economy. So now, more than ever, cooperation from everyone in our community is required to ensure the NWI Clinic and NDBMH Centre stay operational.

Town Council has been informed that housing is a major deterrent for recruitment of new physicians and staff. Therefore, if you or someone you know, may have a residence that can be made available for long term rental, please contact the Town Office.

In addition to housing, another concern surrounds public awareness and education of our own local health care crisis.  In our area, we have lost two physicians in the last ten months. As a result, the remaining four physicians are doing the work of six, which has become very overwhelming and is impossible to maintain for the long term. We have also lost a nurse practitioner in Twillingate, and may lose another at the NWI Clinic. The NDMHC Centre is operating with a third of the nursing staff that should be available at a facility of this size. This all results in the work load for hospital and clinic staff becoming next to impossible to manage. As such, there are long wait times in both the Emergency Department and for clinic appointments. Unfortunately, there has been a noticeable increase in verbal and emotional abuse from patients to not only our physicians, but staff on all levels.   While the frustration of limited accessibility to your primary care provider is understood, this type of abuse will not help in recruiting or retaining staff. We ask that you would be patient and kind with all staff, and keep in mind the situation at hand. (over)

In addition, please respect the importance of appropriate use of the emergency systems, including the ER Department. There are other avenues that are available should you require medical assistance that is not an emergency. There is the 811 number, which can address many of your health care concerns, including providing a prescription. Another available service is the HUB, which is located in Gander, this service will allow you to speak with medical staff to determine if you require an appointment, and provide you with any medical test results that you may be waiting on. The two numbers for the HUB are 709-381-0112 and 709-381-0338.

Lastly, please remember to respect our health care professionals in public settings.  Asking for medical advice or medical results outside of your own personal appointment is not appropriate and contributes to burn-out of our physician’s and support staff.

Please join the Town of Twillingate and New World Island, as we work together to not only retain the health care providers we already have, but join as a community to recruit more professionals to our area.

Small changes can have a big impact, you too can be part of the solution to the health care crisis in our area.

Sincerely,

The Town of Twillingate