Eastern Health has help on the way for Carbonear General Hospital as it manages a gap in the availability of internal medicine physicians on weekends.
In an emailed statement to The Compass, the regional health authority confirmed it has not had any internal medicine physicians available on weekends at the hospital for the months of January and February. According to the Canadian Medical Association, these doctors provide primary and specialty care for adults, tasked with diagnosing and managing diseases involving organs.
For the first two months of 2019, the hospital had two internal medicine physicians — also known as internists. According to Eastern Health, they were available to maintain patients who were already in the hospital prior to the weekend. New patients arriving at the emergency department on weekends were assessed and referred to the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s if necessary.
The health authority reports it recently recruited a third internist who started working at the hospital earlier this month. A fourth internist recruited is expected to start working at the hospital this summer.
Earlier this month, the hospital dealt with a 16-hour interruption to anesthesiology services, requiring expectant mothers and patients needing surgery during that time to be transferred to St. John’s.
In an interview with The Compass earlier this month, officials with Eastern Health spoke of a number of physician recruitment efforts ongoing with the hospital, noting its status as a newly-recognized teaching site for Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. As a result, the hospital is experiencing an increased student presence, with some involved in departments that haven’t traditionally attracted physicians in training.