Friday, October 22, 2021

Observations from the SDH meeting at the UAW Hall

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By Glen Turner – Special to the Sydenham Current

Along with about 450 other people, I attended last week’s meeting at the UAW about Sydenham District Hospital.

Oops. Sorry. I attended the meeting at the UAW about the ‘Sydenham Campus’ of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

There IS a big difference.

The latter is the designation that was forced upon us by… you guessed it, amalgamation. That’s a word that is starting to really annoy me.

Since amalgamation, the hospital here has been decimated, but we all know that. The services have been pulled, and relocated to, guess where? Chatham. Surgery? Gone. Mammography? Gone. Lab? Gone. Intensive Care? Gone. Acute Care? Gone. Maternity? Ditto. Even Physiotherapy is down to three days a week.

It looks like the Emergency Department is next.

And it appears that this won’t be stopping soon.

One thing I didn’t know before the meeting is that we LOST our designation as a ‘small rural hospital’ as long ago as 2012, and no-one seems to know why. Was that part of the plan to reduce services here? And who made that decision?

One of the many things that bothered me about the meeting was the use of terms like ‘in-camera meetings’, ‘secret reports’, ‘reports not to be made public’, and the question then becomes obvious. CKHA is a public institution – why isn’t ALL information about the operation of a public institution not public information?

Another was the almost casual use of statistics to rationalize the decimation of Sydenham Hospital, many of which, as it turns out, are either fabrications or wildly inaccurate. The term used was ‘weighted’, too.

I was also both pleased and bothered to see our MPP, Monte McNaughton there at the meeting. I was pleased to see that he is supporting the efforts of the SDH Board, but, bothered by the fact that, as a representative of the PC’s in Ontario, it was HIS party that brought all this down on us, in my opinion. Can we say ‘Mike Harris’ and ‘amalgamation’ as one word?

Yes, yes, I know Mr. McNaughton was not around at the time, but he does represent the people who gave us the current problems. I’d be curious to ask how he feels about Harris, Ernie Eves et al, and what their legacy of amalgamation means to him.

In any case, join the membership of the Sydenham District Board… it’s only $10, and the more people who demand to be heard can perhaps (at least ) save our ER.


  1. All good guestions How many will be answered My guess not many BUT alot of them should make ALL of Chatham Kent wonder about the mess OUR TWO HOSPITALS and the rest of ONTARIO has fallen iinto.ITS TO BAD THAT OUR ELECTED OFFICALS HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT GREAT HEALTH CARE WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MADE THIS PROVENCE AND CANADA AWESOME !!

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