The emergency department at Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre is getting an influx of new doctors — including one who has been in the national news.

Dr. Chris Mazza will be among 25 short- and long-term locums who will be working in emergency. Locums are temporary doctors hired to help in areas where there’s an identified need.

Mazza is the former CEO and president of Ornge, the province's troubled air ambulance service.

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The former CEO of Ontario's air ambulance system has found new work in Thunder Bay.

The Thunder Bay hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Gordon Porter, said it takes a certain type of doctor to be willing to work in as busy a hospital as the health sciences centre.

“In our emergency department — being one of the one or two top emergency [rooms] in terms of volume in Canada now — you have to have that thick skin in order to be successful,” he said.

'We are locum-dependent'

Porter added the hospital has an acute need for help in the emergency department, due to the departure of six doctors.

"We have recognized, for years, that we are locum-dependent in many areas,” Porter said.

“We have managed to recruit [for] some of the sub-specialty gaps that we had. We recognized through our exit interviews what some of the needs to be addressed were."

One of those gaps was the lack of emergency room physicians, he said, adding the hospital now has emergency physician coverage until the start of next summer.

“Our goal, ultimately, is to have full-time recruits who will be here, and we have a plan in place,” Porter said.

"I look forward to seeing the day we don't require any locums, not only in emergency but in all our sub specialty areas."