MOUNT FOREST – The Mount Forest Family Health Team (MFFHT) is preparing for staff shortages and alerting the public to the possibility of service cancellations due to pandemic pressures.
“With the latest wave of COVID cases, our primary health care team is feeling the same staff shortages and workload pressures that most employers are feeling now,” MFFHT officials state in a Jan. 10 press release.
“As the case counts increase and the Family Health Team and the doctors in Mount Forest have more staff unable to come to work, we may need to cancel services suddenly.”
Executive director Suzanne Trivers said officials are “asking that patients calling for an issue only leave one message and not continue to call several times about the same issue throughout the day. We have to prioritize our work every day.
“We will get to you in balance with the urgency of the needs of other patients. It may take longer than usual to get back to you.”
To help with information sharing, the FHT is updating the options on its phone system so callers may choose a topic and listen to a repeating message with information about that topic. Topics include information about where to get a vaccination, what to do if you have mild to moderate COVID symptoms, and when you should go to the hospital with COVID symptoms.
“We do not take the decision to cancel services lightly,” stated Claire Stewart Medical Clinic physician lead Dr. Alex Goytisolo.
“We know that it has an impact on the lives of our patients when we have to delay services and we worry when we are not able to meet your expectations. We also care about our team members. We need to make sure that they stay available to provide care today and into the future.
“So, we must manage the pressures put upon them each day at work.”
Goytisolo went on to provide information about specific ways patients can help with workload at this difficult time.
The team reviews all test results received. If the test needs follow up, the team will call the patient. A small number of people call several times asking if their results are now available. Each message must be listened to by a team member to ensure it is not an urgent matter.
“These repeated messages take valuable time that our team members could be using to deal with more urgent issues,” the release states.
Patients are asked to order medication at least three business days before running out.
“If we are ordering a new medication or changing a medication for you, especially if it was arranged over the phone, the communication from our office to the pharmacy will not be instant,” officials state.
“We process dozens of prescriptions every day. Please be patient. And make sure that the pharmacy looks in their computer as well as on the fax machine. More and more we are using digital communication rather than paper.”
When a visit is cancelled
MFFHT officials stated, “We do not cancel appointments without a significant reason. Our team members get sick, have family emergencies, and have emergencies with other patients come.”