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The Sydenham District Hospital board is making progress with their healthcare vision for the community.

Following a meeting on April 19 of the Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) Corporation members and their unanimous approval to a vision and district proposal presented by the Board, SDH contracted Shore Consulting to undertake a review of the proposal and a consultation with prospective partners.

Shore’s report was presented to the annual meeting on June 23 and was approved in principle by all in attendance.

The Board will now begin further consultations with additional partners, with other members of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) and with the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to determine the proposal’s feasibility and fundability.

No decision on site location

The report recommends a single site from which compatible healthcare services could be offered.

“Site location would be a future evaluation and consideration” Sheldon Parsons, board chair, stated in a press release.

The SDH board owns the land and buildings at the current hospital site at 325 Margaret in Wallaceburg.

“Its an underutilized and under resourced facility but it might not be suitable for a longer term capital investment,” said Parsons.

“The Board is open to all options.”

Initial leadership to be taken by SDH board

The consultant’s report recommends that SDH begin the process toward approval and implementation by providing the initial leadership.

“We have the backing of our membership and the communities we serve to bring the partners together to start the planning process,” said Parsons.

“We know that an early effort towards this same goal was undertaken by staff at CKHA and we will draw from that effort as much as we can so that we do not duplicate what has already been done. Our membership and the public have been very clear that any project or proposal must include a 24/7 fully functioning emergency department.”

Proposal aligns with LHIN and Ministry of Health direction

SDH officials say the recommended service delivery model for healthcare in the Sydenham – Walpole – St. Clair District is consistent and compatible with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s ‘Patients First’ policy framework and the priorities established by the local LHIN.

“We know that this is the approach that the Ministry prefers for the delivery of healthcare services in a small and rural community,” Parsons said.

“It’s the way that we keep our healthcare services local and close to home.”

More information is available at http://www.saveoursydenham.com/