Submission of Mike & David McCarron

To: Ontario Health Coalition

Date: March 4, 2010

Transcribed: March 17, 2010

My name is David McCarron with my father Michael. I am not going to touch on some of the aspects I know we are going to hear multiple times today. I did want to bring forward a couple of points. We have all read the newspaper I’m sure by now or at least received the Courier Press that says that market share of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is dropping. I imagine that most people here probably know why that is happening or at least have some ideas at to why it’s happening. There seems to be a growing disconnect between the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the people of Chatham-Kent and Southern Lambton. Every time we get one of these diagrams from the Health Alliance we get to see everything centered on Chatham but we have two catchment basins for the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, one is in Wallaceburg and one is in Chatham and we are perpetually ignoring the people in Southern Lambton and sometimes as well the people in Walpole Island when we are looking at these diagrams. That mindset I think is what is continuing to cause problems for the Health Alliance.

When we are moving forward there is a big difference between rural care and urban care. In urban care you don’t have enough people that you can really gather a group of people and cohesively look after one hospital. If you don’t have a service at one hospital it’s easy to transfer to another hospital. We don’t have some of those luxuries here and when we continually pull and pull and pull away from the Chatham hospital and pull away from the Wallaceburg hospital, when we create that disconnect people are going to go elsewhere for care.

One of the big things I’m seeing is that compassion is definitely disappearing at least from the Chatham hospital. A lot of customers I talk to when I’m going out say that, I’ve heard a number of horror stories of nurses in the Chatham hospital that either don’t care or don’t spend the time or are pressured most likely, unfortunately I am not there to know myself, but are pressured most likely to spend as little time with each patient as possible because you need to see as many customers in the line as you can. That is one of the major reasons why a lot of people are no longer going to Chatham.

My father who is with me, and I wanted to bring him up, my aunts and uncles, my mother is one of 12 siblings. She is the youngest so I have gotten to see what goes on in Chatham as a number of them have been over to the hospital for a number of reasons. I’m not going to go through all the different experiences they had but one element of efficiency within the system is my father has an open wound on the instep of his foot. Now he has had this open wound for over two years. The specialists don’t know why he has it, he’s not a diabetic, they’ve done bone scans, they’ve done cultures, and they’ve done everything. They don’t know why its there. The specialists have sent him to other specialists, so he has to go to Sarnia once a month to see this specialist to see how it’s coming. He has been doing so for 2 years. Now they’re not qualified apparently in Chatham to bandage his foot, sorry they’re not qualified in Sarnia to bandage his foot so from Sarnia instead of coming to Wallaceburg to come home which he use to do to have his foot bandaged at home, now he’s been told he has to drive to Chatham from Sarnia and get bandaged in Chatham and then drive back to Wallaceburg. Now this all happens during the work day when he’s suppose to be at the shop. So of course he loses time, and it’s not a big deal for him because he’s semi-retired anyway but for somebody else who is working full-time, this could be a serious issue. So not only does the LHIN have to take two sets of people to look at my father every time he goes to the specialist but now on top of it he has to waste a good 2 ½ - 3 hours of his day driving around to get care.

One of the things I would also like to point out with all of this is when you are looking at the catchment basin of the Sydenham District Hospital that is an opportunity for Chatham-Kent to really expand its customer base. They are not really seeing it as the opportunity that it is, instead they see it as a burden. When I hear a complaint that the ER in Wallaceburg only has at the worst of times only 2 or 3 people visiting at night and yet on the other hand I hear that in Chatham the ER has a 5 hour back log, I wonder why it is that if we’re one Health Alliance that is organized through one initiative why we can’t integrate 2 ERs, so as soon as you register at one ER, if you can be seen in the Wallaceburg ER before you would otherwise be seen in the Chatham ER if you are a Task 3 through 5 case that is non life threatening, why you can’t be immediately transferred to the other ER. This would free up doctors and resources at the one, really cut down on wait time and then use your other resources at the Wallaceburg site more efficiently. At the same time it’s of course important to leave the Wallaceburg site open. We are trying to rebuild our industrial sector; the ER is certainly an important element to that rebuilding. If there’s going to be an industrial accident, its very encouraging knowing there’s help close by.

The other thing I’m wondering is when we hear about having to close a service at the Wallaceburg campus because there aren’t enough, whether it’s a birthing unit or not enough doctors in that particular specialty why we can’t rearrange the rural environment so that those doctors would also be able to share their specialty across multiple sites and why they always have to end up working in Chatham; where they can spend 4 days a week in Chatham and 1 day in Wallaceburg and lift that burden a little bit. We’ve heard a lot about the mammography unit at the Sydenham District Hospital. I really have a lot of questions that I don’t feel have ever been truly well answered. Where the line they like to tell us is well when it was in Wallaceburg there were very few people that were using the service in Wallaceburg so by moving it to Chatham they got a larger exposure to the public. I don’t understand if people from Wallaceburg can go to Chatham to get service why they couldn’t save the money and leave the equipment here and have a lot of those tests done here and have people drive here. There are some of these issues that I think need to be looked at in great detail. Obviously I’m not really qualified to do it but I have never heard answers that have satisfied me. Anyway I don’t know if you want to share anything.