The Chatham hospital boards have announced their intention to terminate the ‘Alliance Agreement’ with Sydenham District Hospital.
In a press release the boards of the Public General (PGH) and St. Joseph’s Hospital (SJH) say they have notified the Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) of their intention to terminate the Alliance Agreement and subsequently, have provided the terms under which that termination could occur.
The proposed approach allows PGH and SJH to continue to support service and staffing across both Campuses while allowing SDH to pursue its own vision and independence as a hospital, the Chatham boards said.
“It is exceedingly clear that there are issues that we are no longer able to resolve and no longer able to negotiate or mediate,” stated Jane Havens, acting chair of PGH.
“We have put forward a plan that provides Sydenham with the autonomy it desires to serve the broader Wallaceburg community.”
In early April 2016, the governance activities of the Alliance were suspended.
The boards of PGH and SJH have confirmed their position that the Alliance Agreement is no longer a viable governance structure in which to lead hospital organizations, the Chatham boards said.
There are too many irreconcilable differences between the PGH, SJH and SDH Boards.
The effective functioning of the Tri-Board is impossible.
“As we have stated from the beginning, it is our responsibility as Board members to serve the public interest for all residents of Chatham-Kent in ensuring the delivery of the highest quality hospital services possible,” stated Havens.
“Sydenham has been pursuing the interests of a new sub-region for North Kent and South Lambton. Achieving a fully seamless system for patients that is sustainable within the funding provided is increasingly difficult. It requires common goals and a shared vision of the future. It is clear that the boards of PGH, SJH and SDH no longer share a common vision. Change in the governance structure is necessary.”
The Alliance Agreement was entered into by PGH and SJH in 1998 and joined by SDH in 2002.
It was based on the principle of working together to create and maintain a strong healthcare system for Chatham-Kent today and in the future.
The proposed termination agreement would realign the relationship among the three hospital corporations of the Alliance.
It requires the approval of the Erie St. Clair LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to proceed.
“This new approach brings closure to this divisive and unproductive dialogue. It’s a new way forward for Chatham Kent. We’ve proposed a plan that will continue to support the operational needs of the Wallaceburg community. Last month we delivered the proposed terms to Sheldon Parsons, Chair of SDH, the LHIN and the Ministry. We are waiting to hear back.”
The issues facing the Alliance boards are not new and the decision to suspend was not a sudden development, the Chatham boards said.
All three boards engaged in a governance renewal process over three years ago.
In early 2014, all parties agreed that a new model was needed and the boards continued to work toward achieving that objective.
Unfortunately, as PGH and SJH accelerated their efforts, SDH’s progress was stalled, the Chatham boards said.
Over those three years, the hospital boards have diverged rather than come together.
“We look forward to working with all parties to see this new plan implemented in as timely a way as possible,” Havens stated.
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