Patrick Porzuczek watched in disbelief Thursday morning as the “emergency” and “H” signs were removed outside the hospital site in Minden, Ont., signifying the closure of its emergency department.
“It was extremely emotional for me because over the last six weeks this is what we’ve been fighting for — to keep that blue H and that ’emergency’ sign up,” said Porzuczek, one of the main organizers of public campaigns to save the ER. “Seeing those signs down, my heart breaks.”
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June 1 marked the closure of the emergency department in Minden and with it a consolidation of services at the hospital in Haliburton, 30 kilometres north. In late April, Haliburton Highlands Health Services gave six weeks’ notice of the closure – citing ongoing severe staffing challenges as the main reason – to prevent further ER closures at one or both sites.
She reported that in 2022 there were 20 reportable near-miss emergency department closures at the Haliburton site due to physician shortages — but none in Minden.
“The pressure on our staff is absolutely tremendous — it’s not something that was sustainable,” HHHS president and CEO Carolyn Plummer said at a Haliburton County council meeting on April 27.
Plummer on Thursday declined an interview with Global News Peterborough noting the “whole team is focused on making the transition to one ED site a success.” The board has stated no job losses will occur with the consolidation.
“The organization may have updates to share on the other side of the transition, and if so, such updates (will) be provided to media,” she stated.