Sunday, February 23, 2020

Chatham boards seeking to terminate ‘Alliance Agreement’

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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.

– Watch for more on this story


  1. this has never ever been a “tri-board” only 2 boards rule everything…if this is going to be nullified we deserve to get all our equipement …beds etc that you have raped us of

  2. I wonder if the terms include fair distribution of assets, you know, make us whole as if this Alliance agreement never came to fruition. Assets should be redistributed (including assets transferred to PGH, a stake in the shared corporation Transform), forgone income due to joint hospital reporting (wasn’t that one million dollars a year?), forgone building maintenance that may have taken more precedence instead of perhaps relying on the “Imagine!” project to be approved, assets purchased at PGH using the funding share provided by SDH.

    Sounds damn expensive for the boards claiming fiduciary responsibility to hospital operations. Or perhaps they don’t really care about “all of Chatham-Kent” like their claim, and the terms don’t include a single asset transfer.

    Be interesting, but I doubt PGH and SJH terms proposed include any form of asset transfer. Bad enough they want to maintain the entirety of human capital that was developed by the three separate corporations.

  3. I believe we should organize and boycott the Chatham boards and ask to separate from Chatham Kent and try and be are own county again. The algamation has been terrible over the years and I bet if you did a survey of the town and see what people wants, either to be apart of Chatham Kent or independent.

  4. I believe that Wallaceburg should be separated from Chatham Kent and be a independent town again. The amalgamation of Chatham Kent only benefited the city of Chatham and is not successful with the other small towns it gobbled up.

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