Can the hospital go it alone?

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News

Approval from the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) board is the main hurdle standing in the way of Kincardine Hospital leaving its amalgamation with the hospitals in Durham, Chesley and Walkerton.

“(You can examine the pros and cons of a stand-alone hospital) if you wish,” said SBGHC CEO Paul Davies. “But make sure it’s with the latest knowledge of where health care is going.”

The board said Kincardine could de-amalgamate if the board votes to support the move and the request is forwarded to the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) before being passed on to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Davies said the current amalgamation does have benefits for Kincardine. The hospital benefits from a sharing of equipment and technologies. The municipality benefits from a sharing of administration costs among the four sites.

“Care is delivered consistently across all the sites,” Davies said.

Davies was presented a list of 22 questions by the groups involved in Friday’s health care stakeholders meeting. He answered each of them in a short power point presentation.

The hospital board made the decision to cut outpatient physiotherapy at the Kincardine site in July. Since then, there has been a groundswell of support for the Kincardine Hospital to leave the SBGHC and become independently operated.

Community Health Care Foundation member Gregg McClelland called for the de-amalgamation during Friday’s meeting. He said Kincardine’s continued loss of services is a result of Davies trying to improve the Walkerton Hospital.

Davies disagreed with this idea; he said Kincardine has some programs that are larger than ones offered in Walkerton. He also gave his commitment to the redevelopment of the Kincardine site.

The SBGHC also committed to providing core services to each hospital in the group.

“Travel (for appointments) is always a consideration. Emergency and core services will always be available,” Davies said. “It’s only elective services people will travel for.”

In the face of claims that Kincardine has repeatedly lost services, Davies pointed out that Kincardine’s hospital has only suffered three losses of service in recent years – the loss of obstetrics in 1997, the physiotherapy cuts and the reallocation of beds.

‘It’s the board’s responsibility to mandate services to meet changing population needs,” Davies said.