|As we should all be aware by now, there are financially motivated issues that directly affect the services offered at our hospital. These issues are being discussed by the board that oversees the regional hospitals that make up Grey Bruce Health Services.
Lance Thurston, the CEO of GBHS, has made several presentations to the council and one at a public forum March 28th, where he stated that due to funding formula changes, the regional group are projecting a shortfall of $17,000,000 by 2021. With that stated, the board has to balance their budget so cost cutting measures are being discussed. One such measure being proposed is to close the operating rooms at three facilities, including Meaford, to consolidate services in the Owen Sound hospital. This is a potential savings of $550,000.
At the Municipality of Meaford Council meeting on April 10th, Council passed a motion favouring continuation of elective day surgery services at the Meaford Hospital. The motion notes limited costs savings between two of the options as well as a lack of transparency and accountability in the recommendation to consolidate all elective surgeries in Owen Sound. Council urges the GBHS Board delay any action to allow for further discussion with key community partners, including a request to release full details of all the options considered in a making this decision. According to Mayor Clumpus, “this recommendation by GBHS will impede our ability to attract new physicians in our ‘high needs’ municipality which have an ever-increasing negative impact on health-care services, the well-being of our residents and on our economy in Meaford as well.” She also stated that “Council does not support the recommendation to consolidate surgeries.” (Please see the Council Media Release dated April 11, 2017 for the entire text of Council’s Motion.)
The Board of Directors of the Meaford Chamber of Commerce are in agreement with Mayor Clumpus and Council’s recommendations to Grey Bruce Health Services and strongly urge their board to reconsider this decision. Mayor Clumpus will be meeting with the CEO of the South West LHIN and the Minister of Health to discuss the funding of Rural Ontario Hospitals. Mayor Clumpus says “Council will seek a delegation to the Minister at every opportunity – until there is an equitable balance of funding between large urban and smaller rural hospitals.” We are behind this initiative one hundred per cent.
Should this consolidation of services take place, we as members of our community are very concerned over what cuts are next. With no local hospital service, doctors will not move to Meaford, families who cannot get a doctor locally will not move to Meaford, personnel being transferred to the Training Centre (the “Base”) will not move to Meaford. Retired people who cannot get medical services in Meaford will not come here and those already here could quite likely move from here. The hospital is a service that, if removed, will affect the economic health of the entire municipality with far-reaching effects.
If you do not agree with the Meaford Chamber of Commerce supporting the motion of Council, please contact the office at 51 Berry Street no later than April 17th.
If you do agree with Council’s motion and recommendations, please send a letter of support for council to:
Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2
And one to: South West Local Health Integration Network
201 Queens Avenue, Suite 700
London, Ontario N6A 1J1