December 2, 2005

Heather McDonald
Corporate Communications & Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77642

London Emergency Departments Remain Open for Business 24/7

(LONDON, Ontario) - Emergency Departments at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) University Hospital and Victoria Hospital will remain open and fully operational past December 8th .. LHSC is contracting the services of additional emergency physicians with the help of a Canadian company that specializes in healthcare staffing solutions.

"Given the existing shortage of emergency physicians, contracting the services of qualified emergency physicians through Med-Emerg International is our best option for an immediate solution to our staffing issues," said Neil Johnson, Vice President of the Medicine Clinical Business Unit at LHSC.

LHSC is also initiating an enhanced recruitment campaign for emergency physicians and nurse practitioners in December and will work with St. Joseph's Health Care and the Ministry of Health to develop long-term, city-wide solutions for urgent and emergent care physician services.

"It is our pledge to the public that we will continue to offer the excellent quality of care at LHSC emergency departments that we have always done," said Dr. Gary Joubert, City Wide Chief of Emergency Medicine.

In September, LHSC emergency physicians indicated that they did not feel they would have enough physicians to adequately staff the Emergency Departments at both University Hospital and Victoria Hospital from December onward. They also expressed concerns about the stress of their workload as LHSC emergency physicians are currently working a higher number of shifts than the national average for teaching hospitals.

Med-Emerg International has been providing contract medical staffing solutions and healthcare consulting services since 1983. Dr. Ramesh Zacharias, CEO and Executive Medical Director of Med-Emerg is a former LHSC surgical resident. Med-Emerg retains fully qualified and credentialed emergency physicians.

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada's largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is partnered with London's other teaching hospital, St. Joseph's Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.