A newly formed group is holding a town-hall-style meeting next month to discuss the future of Wallaceburg’s hospital.
Long-time hospital advocate Shirley Roebuck has created the Wallaceburg-Walpole Island First Nation Health Coalition, and they are inviting the public to the UAW Hall in Wallaceburg on Thursday, April 7 at 6 p.m.
“The goal is to provide insight to the public and to help educate the public about how health care services in our province works and what has been going on,” Roebuck said.
“For instance, Wallaceburg is only one community that is facing severe cuts. Hospitals are being gutted and closed all over the province in the name of progress. We have to understand the problem before we can go out and fix it. Our goal is also to find and sign people up to be part of our coalition, to help us spread the word even further. We’re going to take our fight to Queen’s Park.”
Roebuck, who is a part of the Chatham-Kent Health Coalition, said she felt it was necessary for Wallaceburg and Walpole Island to have a separate group.
“We want to bring everyone together, we want everyone to be together in order to fight for our hospital but right now this fight is about Wallaceburg, singularly,” she said.
Roebuck said she started the new group the night after the Sydenham District Hospital members meeting on March 23.
Prior to the recent SDH meeting, Roebuck told the Sydenham Current she believes the ER in Wallaceburg will eventually be closed.
Roebuck said she didn’t hear anything at the meeting that changed her mind.
“It was so evident, for everyone in the room, that things were going to change in Wallaceburg and I’m afraid I didn’t get very many positive vibes that they were going to change for the good as far as our hospital went,” Roebuck said.
“That hospital used to be a thriving place that serviced its entire community. It had a large catchment area and we also serviced Walpole Island First Nation. Slowly but surely over the years the hospital has been gutted and I’ve found no reassurance in the words of the CEO from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance that our emergency room was safe.”
Roebuck said now is the time to take a stand.
“Having an urgent care centre, which is nothing more than a walk-in clinic, does not serve the needs of the community,” she said.
“When I talk about the community, I’m really talking about three communities: the town of Wallaceburg; its rural catchment area and the farming community; and Walpole Island First Nation. These three communities are unique and I believe we can all come together in a common goal to save our hospital, and to tell Kathleen Wynne, and Ted Matthews and Eric Hoskins to stop the cuts.”
The SDH board is also set to gather next month. They are holding another members meeting on April 19, at the UAW Hall at 5 p.m.
Here is the event poster for the April 7 meeting: