SELKIRK, Manitoba — Officials had to fly in a physician from Ontario this past weekend to keep a busy emergency room open in eastern Manitoba.
John Stinson, chief executive officer of the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, said bringing in a doctor from out of province happens about three or four times a year.
The doctor flew in from Toronto and worked from Friday evening until Monday.
Stinson said he was paid the same rate a Manitoba doctor would earn for the hours he worked, plus expenses, which includes airfare.
He also said three hospitals in Pinawa, Beausejour and Pine Falls had to redirect patients to Selkirk or Winnipeg on Monday due to a shortage of doctors and/or beds.
The Interlake-Eastern region needs family doctors in Ashern, Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa, Pine Falls, Teulon and Whitemouth _ in some towns, there is more than one opening.
“We’re in a very stressful situation with the number of redirections we’re having in our region from our emergency departments,” Stinson said, pointing to high patient volumes and a physician shortage as the causes.
Stinson said the region has also relied on emergency room physicians from Winnipeg to keep ER rooms open at some of its hospitals. He said the Ontario doctor had worked in Manitoba before.
Staffing at Pine Falls has been arranged for the coming weekend. No one will have to be flown in from out of province to fill in, Stinson said.