Update on recruitment and retention efforts, capital upgrades at Horizon’s Sackville Memorial Hospital

(SACKVILLE) – Horizon Health Network (Horizon) is making progress in its efforts to recruit and retain frontline health care workers at Horizon’s Sackville Memorial Hospital (SMH), while also moving forward with key infrastructure upgrades at this facility.

Recruitment and retention

In collaboration with the community, targeted recruitment efforts in Sackville have yielded positive results, with several nurses joining the SMH team and strengthening staffing resources in the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) and inpatient units.

This progress reflects Horizon’s key priority of improving the recruitment and retention of health care workers to our organization.

Horizon has successfully recruited and onboarded five Registered Nurses (RNs) who are now caring for patients in the ED, while a total of five Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are now working in the ED.

Additionally, Horizon has added nursing support to other areas of the hospital, including the Brunswick inpatient unit. Overall, 19 of 24 RN positions at the hospital are currently filled, and Horizon’s talent acquisition teams are continuing to aggressively recruit to fill the rest.

While there is more to be done before 24-7 ED coverage in Sackville can be restored – notably the need to recruit additional physician support – Horizon remains fully committed to this objective. Horizon will need to recruit approximately four ED physicians and two RNs in order to safely resume 24-7 ED operations in Sackville.

Community Action Group

Horizon representatives are continuing to engage collaboratively with members of the Sackville-Memramcook-Tantramar Rural Health Action Group to identify and execute strategies aimed at better promoting the hospital – and the community – as a quality place to build a career in health care while enjoying all the area has to offer.

The collaborative model of community engagement in Sackville is being used as a template for building sustainable rural health care opportunities in other New Brunswick communities

experiencing similar challenges recruiting and retaining health care professionals and providing quality health care services to residents.

“We know that our health care system and our local communities are at their best when we all take ownership of these challenges and work hand-in-hand to address them openly, transparently and collaboratively,” said Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s interim President and CEO.

“What we are seeing in Sackville is proof that when we all work together toward a common goal, no challenge is too big or complex to overcome. I am thrilled with the progress we have seen in attracting health care professionals to SMH and have no doubt that we are on a path to fully realize the potential of this excellent facility.”

Facility upgrades

Horizon is also preparing to move forward with significant capital upgrades at SMH in the coming months, including construction of a second operating room (OR) theatre, renovations to the existing OR, as well as renovations to a section of the ED which sustained flood damage during Hurricane Fiona in September.

The construction of the second OR theatre will enhance surgical access for the region, providing additional capacity for orthopedic surgeries such as hip and knee replacements and, potentially, a wider variety of surgical procedures moving forward.

Horizon is investing approximately $2 million into this project, with work expected to begin by late spring 2023.

This plan will include provisions for short-stay surgeries, where patients could remain in inpatient unit overnight for certain procedures.

“This collaborative approach ensures more New Brunswickers can access vital care closer to home, but we also believe Horizon’s underlying commitment to improving health outcomes with communities, will also save the province vast sums of money,” said John Higham, co-chair of the Rural Health Action Group.

Improving the overall patient experience is one of the key priorities in Horizon’s plan to ensure all New Brunswickers receive the quality care they need. This plan consists of three other priorities: improving patient flow at our health care facilities, as well as improving access to surgical and emergency services, and improving the recruitment and retention of health care workers. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca. This initiative also supports the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations