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'Another long wait': Letter posted at Vancouver hospital compares staff shortage to Rogers outage

"If Rogers [Communications] can fail, we as mere [humans] can go unwell."
A note posted by a Mount Saint Joseph Hospital employee in July 2022 asks people to be patient. A UBC study links staff stress and patient care.

A letter posted by a staff member at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has sparked a conversation about wait times at Vancouver's health care facilities. 

The note explains that several of the hospital's employees were sick and the remaining staff were trying their best to meet the patient demand.

"We would like to inform you that it will be another long wait," reads the letter. "We are down [three] nurses, no nurse practitioner, and [one] registration clerk from our regular workforce."

The letter also pokes fun at the Rogers Communications Inc. Canada-wide network outage, which impacted the company's wireless and home service customers on Friday, July 8.

"If Rogers [Communications] can fail, we as mere [humans] can go unwell."

Providence Health Care spokesperson Ann Gibbon told Vancouver Is Awesome that the letter wasn't authorized to go up and the hospital doesn't communicate to patients that way.

"Staffing levels are fine and there's no impact on patients," she said, adding that the note was taken down Sunday (July 10). 

Mount Saint Joseph Hospital typically has comparatively shorter wait times than other hospitals in the city, Gibbon added. "It's got much shorter wait times generally and things are running smoothly."

As of this writing, the Emergency Department Wait Times website shows Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has the shortest wait time in the city, at one hour and forty-five minutes.

The letter was shared on social media Sunday and multiple people commented that health care workers are overworked, while others shared stories of long waits in various hospitals across the province. 

A recent UBC study found links between stress experienced by frontline nurses and the quality of care provided to patients. The study found that the more severe the mental health symptoms reported by nurses, the more likely they will rate the quality of care and safety in hospitals, long-term care homes and community health centres as poor.

With files from Jeremy Hainsworth