45 doctors at Winnipeg hospital plead with province to address staffing issues in letter to health minister

Doctors at Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital are sounding the alarm over concerns for patient safety and are begging the province to address critical staffing issues.

A letter addressed to Health Minister Audrey Gordon, which was obtained by CBC, was signed by 45 doctors at the Grace who express concerns about a lack of oversight for patients in the medicine in-patient ward at that hospital after hours.

Those roughly 100 patients could rapidly decline at any moment, warns the letter, dated Thursday.

“We cannot emphasize enough that patient safety remains severely compromised at the Grace Hospital because of the current inadequate response and commitment to properly fund a position,” the letter says.

“This is below the standard of medical care that Manitobans deserve.”

The doctors say they submitted briefing notes to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to address the current staffing model and approve a new, more complete one “to help augment our ability to provide safe overnight patient care,” the letter said.

They requested urgent funding for an overnight hospitalist — a physician who cares for in-patients — to meet the standard of care that’s already available in other wards across the health authority, including at Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital, according to the letter.

The proposal was approved, but retracted days later, it alleges.

CBC News has requested a response from the health authority.

Gordon is scheduled to speak to reporters later on Friday afternoon.

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