The chair of the Sydenham District Hospital board is expecting a great turn out tonight (April 19) for their members meeting at the UAW Hall, which starts at 5 p.m.
Sheldon Parsons told the Sydenham Current it is important for local residents to attend the meeting.
“We expect to have an overflow crowd,” Parsons said.
“I think it is our opportunity from the board’s perspective to share information with the membership and indirectly the general public, about what has been going on. What is proposed, what is not proposed, what our position is and what we think we should be doing going forward.”
Parsons added: “It’s an opportunity for us to share our vision for what healthcare should look like in the future for our community. It’s a very important meeting. Hopefully people will have the opportunity to get out and hear what’s going on.”
Parsons said making sure we get the healthcare we need, requires advocacy.
“That advocacy requires a proactive board, it requires very active membership and it requires an engaged community. We’re trying to promote that the best we can. Tonight we’ll speak to that.
CKHA report will be discussed
Parsons said a report from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) regarding a proposal for the future of Wallaceburg’s hospital will be discussed at tonight’s meeting.
“The report is cloaked in confidence by our staff at CKHA,” he said.
“The report has been presented to the LHIN for their consideration, by two boards, not three. That report has been shared with Walpole Island band council, at which time we believe it became a public report. So we will be drawing from that report to share information with the membership and the general public about what is being proposed by the Chatham board’s for Wallaceburg hospital.”
Happy to hear Wynne and Hoskins’ comments
As was discussed in Queen’s Park on Monday, Parsons said he was encouraged to hear what Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Minister of Health Eric Hoskins had to say.
However, he knows “a plan” is in the works by the CKHA.
“The Premier and the Minister said there is no plans… we know there is a plan,” Parsons said.
“We know it has been presented to the LHIN. We know it has been presented to Walpole Island band council. So, all of that information we’ll share tonight.
Parsons added: “I think the delegation that went down did a great job and were successful in getting awareness to our problem,” Parsons said.
Funding from the province
Included in a statement issued by Minister Hoskins’ on Monday, was a comment about funding for the CKHA.
“We are increasing funding for Ontario’s hospitals by $345 million this year,” Hoskins said.
“That includes an additional $2.1 million in operating funding for the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, a 2 percent increase.”
Parsons said he isn’t sure how much the CKHA actually received.
“We know from the budget speech that there was an additional 1% allocated to hospitals across the province,” he said.
“We’re not exactly sure how much of that actually made its way to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Large hospitals are funded by a calculation that uses the population served, the number of expected cases, the number of expected procedures that will be carried out by those hospitals and then they provide a funding guideline based upon all of that. Once the 1% is awarded across the province, if a lot of that goes to the big hospitals in Toronto there isn’t a lot left for the smaller hospitals like Chatham, Sarnia, Leamington and Wallaceburg.”
Parsons said the exact amount that was coming, he believe staff knows.
“If they are saying that is not enough, I think we need to be advocates on our own behalf and make our pitch to the LHIN and to the province that more money is needed,” he said.
“Clearly, there is a deficit to be dealt with. We are conscious about that. Sydenham District Hospital board are prepared to sit with our sister boards and work out how we manage those costs.”
Blackburn News is reporting that CKHA officials are not aware of an “ER bailout” in Wallaceburg.
Governance activities suspended
Parsons said after the Public General and St. Joseph’s hospital boards suspended governance activities last week, they have not gone back to the table as a Tri-Borad.
“We’re very disappointed that our sister board’s pulled their ball up and went home,” he said.
“We don’t think that’s mature. We think they need to get back to the table and we’ll go back to the table and we’ll work out ways in which we can make our healthcare delivery more efficient, more effective, but there is only so much you can do before you have to start cutting services. The choice of the two boards in Chatham was to cut Wallaceburg services.”
More details about the governance issues will be discussed tonight, Parsons said.
Watch for more coverage.