Re: Pontiac obstetrics

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In response to Josey Bouchard’s letter in the March 24 issue regarding the closed obstetrics unit at the Pontiac Hospital, I share the frustration and concern about the length of time this crucial department has been closed. Every effort is being made to reopen it.
A committee of four MRC mayors, Centre intégré de santé et de services

In response to Josey Bouchard’s letter in the March 24 issue regarding the closed obstetrics unit at the Pontiac Hospital, I share the frustration and concern about the length of time this crucial department has been closed. Every effort is being made to reopen it.
A committee of four MRC mayors, Centre intégré de santé et de services
sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO-administrators and doctors), and myself have been meeting twice a month since August 2020. André Fortin is also working with us. Our objective is to reopen the obstetrics unit permanently.
There have been two major obstacles: COVID-19 (as this must be CISSSO’s first priority) and the provincial nursing union negotiations. Josée Filion of CISSSO has told me that reopening the OBS unit in Shawville is her first priority after COVID.
Salary equalization with Ontario is the most important factor to hire the 12 nurses and two midwives we need. We suggested a Pontiac pilot for the salary discrepancy, but given the current negotiation situation, we need to work within the provincial framework. We are also exploring other incentives for staff attraction and retention like housing.
The committee is working with Heritage College to hopefully begin a nursing
program in the Pontiac for September 2022. It’s our mandate to create a strong interest in nursing in our region so a stronger department will sustain itself.
We will keep you informed of our progress and look forward to the reopening.

Jane Toller
WARDEN, MRC PONTIAC