By Jean Bagshaw
We are facing a number of realities that, in my opinion, need to be put on the table for all to see.
One of them is the fact that regardless of which option we choose on the hospital survey, it will bring us to the same conclusion. That conclusion is that there will be one acute-care site in this region.
Why do I say this?
If we choose the option that has outpatients at one site and inpatients at the other site, then the site that has inpatients will be the one that delivers acute care services.
If we choose the option that has some services at one site and different services at the other site, then the site that has surgery will be the one that delivers acute care services.
If we choose the option that has one site only, then obviously that site will deliver acute care services.
Another reality is that there has been insufficient funding available from government to comfortably operate our two sites due to a funding formula that favours larger facilities and greater volumes. I believe that this is being done by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care with the full knowledge that it will force smaller places to centralize acute care services.
The travel reality is that we will be driving farther regardless of which option is chosen. If you are ill enough to require admission, you will be driving (or will be taken by ambulance) to the site that has inpatient beds. If you require a particular service, then you will drive to which ever site has that service and if you happen to have gone to the site that doesn’t have that service, you will be transferred to the one that does and then you will need to drive home afterwards. If there is a single sited, acute care facility, it may involve a longer drive.
Which brings me to yet another hard reality and that is the fact that it has not been revealed, or may not as yet be known, the location of our one acute-care site. Really, the question is not whether we will have one acute-care services site, but where that site will be located.
If we keep two buildings, which building will have inpatients and hence acute care services? In the other scenario, which building will have surgery and hence acute care services? If we choose a single new building, where will it be located?
We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by all the talk about work being done to streamline health care delivery. Although it is an enormous and worthwhile project, the main issue right now is how and where will our acute-care services be provided. Yes, acute-care services are just part of the big picture but it is a key part and it is the part that we must decide at this point in time. We need to keep our eye on the ball and consider what would be best for all residents in this region.
Jean is a retired registered nurse having training in a hospital school of nursing and then obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as a graduate a few years later. She has worked on the front lines of health care for 49 years, primarily in the hospital sector. Jean is writing as a concerned citizen who does not have any official involvement in the health services planning being done at the this time.
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