GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – Eastern Health is responding after two appointments were unnecessarily postponed at the Grand Falls-Windsor Cancer Centre on Tuesday.
In a statement Wednesday, the health authority clarified the centre continues to accept new patients, there has been no interruption to services at the site and patients continue to receive the care they need, despite media reports to the contrary.
The appointments were postponed as a result of the miscommunication over staffing levels, according to the statement, even though an appropriate number of staff was in place to treat patients.
“This was quickly rectified and staff contacted one of the patients to offer an appointment the same day,” the statement read.
“One patient had their appointment yesterday and the other was rescheduled to later this week. Eastern Health apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused to the patients.”
There is currently a full complement of permanent, full-time nursing staff in place at the cancer centre in Grand Falls-Windsor, the equivalent of three full-time employees.
Eastern Health acknowledged there have been some challenges maintaining a consistent supply of nursing relief staff in the last six months due to the specialized nature of the cancer care program.
That led to staff being unable to take regular blocks of annual leave over the summer months. Vacation days were provided, where possible, the statement indicated.
Eastern Health recently filled a vacancy in relief staff at the centre and an individual will begin orientation on Monday. Recruitment for other casual relief nurses is ongoing.
Other measures to address the issue include reviewing work flow and the model of nursing practice at the centre, working with staff in the other regional cancer centres in Central Health (Gander), Western Health and Eastern Health to provide relief, and scanning other centres across country to identify further best practices in staffing.