The reality is there will be one acute-care hospital in this region ~ Opinion


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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  1. Well said Jean Bagshaw. A modern hospital is a different organization and model. Let’s get on with a good spot to service all in our catchment area. This then allows the planning and design to support infrastructure both in the immediate and outlying areas.

  2. I sincerely hope that this does not come to pass and I totally agree with both Dr. Greg Stewart and Hugh Mackenzie’s points also in the Opinion section here. The questionnaire is flawed and misleading, and the first priority of the Hospital Board should be to address changing the funding formula followed up with a more precise questionnaire. The decisions made have to be universally acceptable to all concerned, not limited to the inaccurate choices currently given.

  3. Peter R. Dirks on

    Well written Dianne. I would like to add that in Huntsville a Hospital can be build just like the one in Milton.
    A combined Hospital of old and new. We have the space. Also a price of building a Hospital all new or Renovation has never been identified . Should we not know what all of the options cost before a decision is made ??? I feel that this does not seem to matter here !!

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