Thursday, December 2, 2021

Letter: Time for the CKHA Tri-Board to end their rift


*This letter was addressed to the Tri-Board of Directors of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance:

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen, and as the Co-Chair of the Chatham Kent Health Coalition and Chair of the Wallaceburg-WIFN Health Coalition.

The rift that has occurred between the Chatham Boards of Directors, and the Sydenham Hospital Board serves no one in our community. The statements about “suspending Board Governance Activities”, makes no sense, as there is no such mandate or wording in the government documents that dictate what Hospital Boards are responsible and not responsible for.

Whoever advised the Boards to make such a proclamation, was ill informed, and obviously does not have the well being of the residents of Chatham Kent at heart. The SDH Board’s response to the statements made by the Chatham Boards, simply fans the flames of egos, and does not really serve the public.

Given the events of the last 2 weeks, the three Boards that serve Chatham Kent Health Alliance: Chatham General, St. Joseph’s and Sydenham District should find a way to overcome individualist feelings, and work to protect the people of Chatham Kent. Any cut to health services harms everyone in our communities.

It is clear that hospitals are underfunded, and tough choices must be made; thus all of us must trust the hospital administration to make choices that help, rather than harm, the people of Chatham Kent.

Through multiple press releases, and facts that have come to light, the Boards should ensure that CKHA administration has done everything possible to save health services in our communities.

Below is a list of facts that should encourage the Boards to act:

– The Canadian Institute of Health Information has noted that CKHA’s Administration budget is the second highest within it’s peer group. CKHA’s response noted in part that monies had to be spent on providing cell phones to all administration staff.

– Every effort to access the Ministry of Health/Long Term Care’s multiple “pots of funding “ to increase local hospital funding should be made clear to the Tri-Board and the public… there is no evidence that this has been done.

– In a Letter to the Editor of the Wallaceburg Courier Press, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians notes the CKHA plan in institute replacing Emergency services with failed plans from Nova Scotia.

– Ms. S. Padfield, COO of CKHA, in a recent press article admitted she had no knowledge of extra funding coming from the MOHLTC; she noted that if more funding was allotted to CKHA, it would be shared by the three hospitals; it seemed that Ms. Padfield was terribly uniformed about the current fiscal situation at CKHA. She should have been able to report that CKHA was in close contact with the MOHLTC regarding the crisis in funding, causing closings and severe downsizings at CKHA.

– The effects of closing the SDH Emergency will result in at least 2 more ambulances being required in Chatham-Kent; one ambulance costs $1 million per year to keep on the road. Municipal taxes will increase, affecting all taxpayers in Chatham Kent.

– Any cut to health services will impact all of Chatham-Kent, through longer wait times and negative outcomes for patients.

The Tri-Board holds the power to call for a Leadership Review, or to call for a Vote of Non-Confidence in leadership. The Tri-Board must ensure that CKHA senior administration do the job that the Tri-Board expects, and indeed all residents of Chatham Kent expect.

Everyone loses when health services are cut. It is time that every member of the Tri-Board, working together, and not separately, takes action to save Chatham Kent Health Alliance.

Shirley Roebuck
Chatham Kent Health Coalition and Wallaceburg-WIFN Health Coalition

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