Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell says in The Importance of Being Earnest: “to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune … to lose both seems like carelessness.” Does the same apply to psychiatrists?
Kitchener-area residents in need of outpatient psychiatric support for their children may very well be quoting Wilde these days.
The Grand River Hospital has lost not one, not two, but four psychiatrists recently, requiring the hospital to restrict outpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents to the most acute cases. It has also lost two clinical managers according to an on-line source in the community.
Usually when an exodus like this takes place, you need not look much further than management of the facility for the reasons why, but Grand River claims the docs are leaving for personal reasons.
A spokesperson for the hospital said one is leaving to be closer to family, another for professional opportunities, and a third is expanding a community practice. In all, Grand River has 16 psychiatrists on staff (not all full-time), some of which are being required to “switch over” to the children’s unit.
An on-line petition suggests the reasons may have more to do with the hospital itself and accuses Grand River of dismantling outpatient mental health programs for children and adolescents. The petition has already reached 1,000 signatures on change.org.
Today the CBC is carrying a story featuring a family whose 13-year old son has Tourette’s Syndrome. Last October they learned their psychiatrist was leaving the hospital and got assigned another, who is now also leaving.
The hospital says it is doing its best to recruit replacements as well as find other opportunities for referral within the community.
They say part of the problem is a national shortage of psychiatrists.
Unlike other hospital cuts in recent weeks, Grand River insists this has nothing to do with money.
The Local Health Integration Network is telling the media that they are assessing the risk of the recent cuts prompted by the departure of the psychiatrists. They are asking the hospital to submit a report by the end of this week.