Ontario’s health minister has assured the community of Wallaceburg that there are no plans in place to close Wallaceburg’s emergency room.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, made this remark in a statement sent out this morning.
“Small towns face unique challenges,” Hoskins said.
“Providing access to high-quality health-care services is important for communities like Wallaceburg. I understand the concern that has been raised by the community about rumors about the potential closure of the Emergency Department at Sydenham District Hospital. And I want to assure the community that there are no plans whatsoever to close the hospital’s Emergency Department.
Hoskins added: “In addition, any proposals to alter the service level of the hospital would need to be approved by all members of the Alliance and the Erie St. Clair LHIN, and would require extensive community consultation and discussions with my ministry. Neither the LHIN nor my ministry have received any such requests.”
Hoskins said he looks forward to continuing to work with Wallaceburg.
“To ensure that they continue to have access to the care they need to keep the community strong,” he said.
The government is committed to making the investments necessary to continue to improve access and outcomes for Ontario patients, Hoskins said.
“That is why we are increasing health-care funding by $1 billion this year to $51.8 billion. And because our hospitals are a key component of our health-care system, we are increasing funding for Ontario’s hospitals by $345 million this year. That includes an additional $2.1 million in operating funding for the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, a 2 percent increase.”
“Having grown up in a small town myself, I know first-hand how important hospitals in small towns are as health care providers, as employers, playing a significant role in the local economy and in helping to attract new residents and encouraging others to stay. That unique relationship is part of the reason why I have always felt strongly that any changes to the service levels in these hospitals must include significant consultation with the community.”
Hoskins added: “That is why I recently announced that the ministry would be providing an additional $1.3 million in annual funding to recruit and retain three obstetricians/gynaecologists to serve families and patients in nearby Leamington.”
More to come.