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Elk Point 'aggresively' recruiting staff for hospital

Feb 19, 2013 03:00 pm | Janice Huser

Aggressive efforts are being made to recruit staff for the Elk Point Hospital and a recruitment committee is looking at offering potential staff some lucrative incentives.

Councillor Dwight Dach spoke to County of St. Paul council regarding a request to support incentives to draw in more nurses to the Elk Point Hospital at council’s last regular meeting on Feb. 12.

As a result of the staff shortage, most acute care beds at the hospital have been closed, and patients now have to be transported to other area hospitals, like St. Paul and Bonnyville, heard council. Dach expressed the importance of the Elk Point Hospital given its central proximity to the oil field and the helipad that can be accessed by STARS air ambulance.

“It is difficult to attract RNs (registered nurses) to a small town,” said Dach. He explained that a recruitment committee has been put together and is working toward offering nurses incentives, such as free housing for a year if they agree to working for two years in Elk Point.

The committee is “aggressively recruiting,” said Dach, adding, they are also working with businesses to offer additional incentives.

“I don’t know if this really can wait to budget,” said Coun. Glen Ockerman, following a request to bring the issue to council’s upcoming budget meetings.

Council agreed to support the effort with $5,000 now, which is less than what Dach said he was hoping to get, but council also agreed to bring the request to its budget meetings in hopes of giving the committee more funding later.

The Town of Elk Point is contributing $60,000 to the committee, heard council.

Meetings have been held recently with numerous health care professionals and government representatives to discuss the issues facing the Elk Point hospital. It became necessary to close some of the acute care beds in November of 2012, and the Emergency Department was closed overnight during the Christmas holidays as a result of the staff shortage.


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