SOS discusses Ontario Health Coalition report
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance - Sydenham Campus - CKDP File Photo
By CKDP Staff
The Ontario Health Coalition is releasing a comprehensive report today (May 17) entitled: Towards Access and Equality – Realigning Ontario’s approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values.
Wallaceburg resident Jeff Wesley, chair of the local group – Save Our Sydenham – spoke on behalf of the local group, in order to reflect upon the report, which summarizes a series of public meetings that took place across the province.
“Wallaceburg and SOS were pleased to take a leadership role and be the location of the first hearing back on March 4,” Wesley stated. “The needs and concerns of SDH play a prominent role in the report.”
Wesley said he is happy that the concerns of the public will now be written down, and submitted to the Rural and Northern Health Care Panel.
“The Hearings were held because no one else was listening nor asking our community what we thought,” Wesley said. “Now, at least our voices are on the record. This report will go to the Premier, Minster of Health and will serve as a detailed document to give to the Rural and Northern Health Care Panel… while we wait for their report.”
Wesley said rural residents are tired of being treated as second class citizens.
“Why do only those in large urban centres have the right to timely emergency care?” Wesley said. “Emergency departments are an essential service.”
What else does the report conclude:
Here is a summary of some of the points in the report, provided by Wesley:
1. There is a total absence of any type of meaningful public input from those affected by hospital cuts in rural and small communities.
- The Province has held no similar hearings.
- The Rural and Northern Health Care Panel has asked for no public input to date and has refused to meet with local stakeholders.
- The panel found a culture of disrespect for hospital advocates (including the general public) by ministry of health staff, LHINs, hospital CEOs and local hospital boards – none of which were seen to represent the interests of the community.
2. The public is upset because hospital funding is not going to patient priorities but rather is wasted on exorbitant executive salaries, bureaucracy (eHealth), LHINs and consultants. Front line health care should be last…not first to be cut.
3. The LHINs lack credibility and the public cannot see value in what they do – this is the case in every area of the province.
4. SDH serves not only Wallaceburg and area but also Walpole Island First Nation, large agricultural communities, Community Living and is there for emergencies in the chemical industry located nearby. SDH also takes overflow emergency cases from the Chatham site of the CKHA. SDH is vital.
5. A local hospital is a key measure for business and industry who are making a decision to locate in a particular community.
The CKDP will be providing a link to the full report when it becomes available.