HPHA CEO says addressing wait times is critical
February 7, 2023 9:16am
Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance CEO Andrew Williams says the wait times some people experience for non-urgent and emergency care are excessive.
He says organizations like the HPHA have an obligation to do all they can to reduce that wait time, and as a system, they have a responsibility to do that. Williams adds, the Provincial government deserves credit for putting ideas out there for discussion.
“The current approach, which expands the use of Independent Health Facilities in areas like cataracts, colonoscopies, endoscopies, potentially hips and knees will certainly help address wait times if it does not result in people leaving the public system and working in these centres,” Williams shared.
So, he says having a really clear human resources plan, and ensuring that the independent health facilities operate at the same level as the hospitals when it comes to quality expectations and safety requirements will be really important.
Williams says that are a lot of questions that have to be answered before, as a system, they’re comfortable that it’s not going to create additional challenges on the human resources front. Williams also says these centres, as in other sectors, tend to set up where there’s a high volume of work so that will adversely impact smaller, rural communities. Williams says there’s no question they need new ideas and new approaches in the current system.
“So we have capacity that is in our existing system and let’s look at how do we utilize that, how do we make sure that we are as efficient as we can be, which is an accountability on us, but let’s not put something in place that might undermine, without thoughtful reflection on what the implications and the impacts will be,” Williams added.
Williams says increasing the work that is done is important, and if the government is going to be adding dollars into the system to do that, they should be maximizing the existing capacity that exists in their hospital sector first. He adds, if there are staffing challenges and they can’t recruit, that’s where they should be putting their energy and effort in the short term, but he adds, they have to be careful that they don’t create new problems in solving the existing problems.
“Great example is in hospitals we have OR teams that need to be available around the clock and if you allow an expansion of Independent Health Facilities, which won’t be around the clock, you run the risk of impacting hospital’s ability to maintain calls, particularly smaller hospitals that don’t have a lot of staff,” concluded Williams.
Williams says they have to be aware of the potential impacts of any changes, and plan for those so that they can provide more timely access to their population.