Approximately 450 members of the Sydenham District Hospital Corporation and guests from the general public packed into the UAW Hall in Wallaceburg on Tuesday night (April 19 )for a a SDH members meeting.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the SDH membership unanimously endorsed a vision put forth by the SDH board for the future of healthcare in the Sydenham, Walpole Island, St. Clair district – an area which covers a number of small and rural communities situated along the Sydenham and St. Clair rivers in Southwestern Ontario.
The vision includes:
– An integrated healthcare delivery system
– Co-location with healthcare service providers
– 24/7 Emergency Department
– Professional staffing, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners
– All necessary ancillary services for the ED (eg. diagnostic and laboratory)
– Combination of medicine and observation beds
– Maintain the ability to accommodate Sarnia/Chatham overflow
– Governance under the SDH board (continued corporate membership)
– A facility that will allow for the future expansion in a site to be determined
The SDH board said in a press release the vision was presented by the board at the public meeting “called in response to reports that CKHA, an Alliance of three hospitals in Wallaceburg and Chatham, proposed to redesign services and close the emergency department at the Hospital in Wallaceburg.
“SDH Board reported to the membership and the general public at the meeting that these reports were considered by the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on March 31st, 2016 and not approved. Portions or all of these reports, while still protected under a cloak of confidentiality, were shared by CKHA staff with the Walpole Island Band Council and, according to members of that Council, the reports did propose the re-design of services now provided at the Sydenham District Hospital and the closure of its emergency department,” the press release states.
The SDH board said in contrast, their vision presented to the members was for a new facility that would co-locate and integrate with local and regional healthcare services now currently available to the communities from various locations.
“Importantly, the vision proposed by the SDH Board includes an Emergency Department,” the press release states.
“With the approval of its vision by the members, the Sydenham District Hospital board now plans to have meetings with other healthcare providers in the District and work towards a collaborative partnership to ensure quality and effective healthcare services.”
The SDH board says the Sydenham District Hospital was built in 1959.
It was managed by a hospital board until 1997 when it joined an Alliance of three Boards – Public General Hospital and St. Josephs Hospital in Chatham and Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg.
All three Boards maintain their individual corporate statuses but have agreed to manage a shared administration and an integrated hospital services system, the SDH board says.
Watch for more coverage, including interviews with Sheldon Parsons, chair of the SDH board, Colin Patey, CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, and Rex Isaac, a member of Walpole Island band council.