SOS Archive p.3

June 26th, 2014


Email  sent to our latest SDH Directors


Congratulations to our 7 Directors on the  SDH:


 Jeff Wesley, Sheldon Parsons, Herb John, Gary Martin, Kris Lee, George Lung & Bill Steep  and congrats to Jeff as Chair and Sheldon as Vice-chair. 


We all know that you will do your utmost to represent our SDH community. Keeping our community well  informed will be crucial for this new Board. The community will trust you but also keep an eye on all of you. We may not always agree but we will trust your good judgement.  We can now start building bridges. We can look back and learn but we must now move forward.


The turnout tonight was fantastic.  The effort by all to recruit so many new SDH members has really paid off. It was impressive to see that so many members came out to vote and support our SOS nominees.


As Chair of SOS,  I know that I have been tough but persistent and a pain to some on CKHA and the 2013 Directors but it was important for CKHA, PGH & SJ Boards to understand that SDH By-Laws were not being followed and that we needed to take control. A control that  as SOS chair, I was passionate about. We’ll let our new Board do its work. 

SOS can now turn its effort on the Ministry and the ESLHIN. 


As I told Shirley Roebuck tonight what she started over 5 years ago was finally accomplished:”We have our own SDH Board”. 


Your work as  SDH Directors has just begun!


Conrad Noel, SOS Chair


Sydenham District Hospital 2014 Corporation  Members Annual General Meeting


SOS would like to remind the 303 SDH Corporation members of our Annual General meeting which will take place on Thursday, June 26th at 3:00 (CHANGED to 5 pm) at the UAW Hall, 88 Elm Street,  Wallaceburg.

By June 16th you should receive your AGM agenda from CKHA either through email or Canada Post.  Please read it carefully.

Also, at the AGM you will have an opportunity to vote for the SDH Directors who will represent the SDH Community at the CKHA Tri-Board for the 2014-2015 term.

On May 26th, I delivered to Colin Patey, CEO of CKHA , on behalf of SOS, our nominated list of  2014 SDH Directors:  Herb John, Charlie Kridiotis, Kris Lee, George Lung, Gary Martin, Sheldon Parsons and Jeff Wesley. We also nominated William (Bill) Steep as our Community representative.

 We certainly hope  that CKHA will respect our nominees  and that their names  will be on the SDH AGM agenda.

This meeting is also open to the general public except that you will not be able to vote.

For further questions, please email me:


Submitted by Conrad Noel, SOS Chair and SDH Corporation member.


June 25th, 2014


***  Please note that the  SDH AGM has been changed to 5:00  pm in order to accommodate our  SDH Corporation members.


A reminder to all our 2014 Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) Corporation Members that our  Annual Meeting (AGM) takes place on Thursday, June 26th at 5:00 pm at the UAW Hall, on Elm Street in Wallaceburg.


This is our first ever opportunity to elect  7 SDH Directors who will truly represent our SDH / Wallaceburg community and catchment area.  We are very confident that these 7 directors will also work closely with the Tri-Boards of the CKHA.


Only those that have paid their SDH Corporation fees will be allowed to vote.  We anticipate that the vote for the 7 Directors will take place at the beginning of the meeting.  Please be there before 5:00 pm.



Courier Press & Chatham Daily News

May 26th, 2014


As SOS Chair, I want to reassure our Sydenham Hospital Community that we have a new full slate of 7 Directors recommended for ratification at the June 26th  Annual General  Corporation  meeting in Wallaceburg. Our recommended slate of 7 Directors are all from Wallaceburg, WIFN and Sombra.  I wish to thank each one of them for bringing his/her name forward.

On May 5th, the Sydenham District Hospital Community was informed that 5 out of 7 SDH Board Directors had resigned. 

As SOS Chair, I have received numerous emails , calls and questions concerning these resignations.

What I offered as an answer is that 3/5 SDH Directors  who resigned were not supported by SOS for the 2014 SDH Board Directors but the other two Directors who resigned  were supported by SOS.   Why did they resign is apparently “highly confidential”?  For these 5 Directors not to complete their yearly term which incidentally would have expired at the 2014 Annual SDH Corporation meeting on June 26th, is difficult to understand and a lack of responsibility.  Because of their irresponsible decision, SDH, PGH and SJ’s Boards are at a stand still  for two months as the CKHA Tri-Boards need a quorum from each of the three Boards for any meeting where Board decisions have to be made.


SOS and SDH Corporation members are adamant that our  7 Directors  need to support our Hospital first  and CKHA second.   Over the past 5 years,  SDH in Wallaceburg   has had so many services and patient care transferred to Chatham because we did not have  Boards  of Directors to protect our Hospital. The SDH By-Laws are very clear. All decisions that affect SDH "MUST" be approved by the SDH Directors.

 In the past, we have not had a majority of SDH Directors from Wallaceburg  supporting us. Instead SDH Board had been controlled by Chatham and Dresden Directors who in turn supported CKHA.  Even some past SDH Chairs and  Directors from Wallaceburg  supported cuts and numerous reductions to our Hospital.  It has always been really easy for the Alliance to sneak in their drastic cuts, reductions and closing of beds because the SDH Boards were always controlled by Directors on SDH Board who were mainly from Chatham and Dresden. This control has to stop.


The 2013 SDH Board  Chair has been the most difficult individual to deal with. For example, as a community we wanted the AGM to start and 5 pm instead of 3 in order to accommodate 303 SDH 2014 Corporation members who may be working until 4pm.  At the April 23rd Special SDH Corporation  Meeting, he refused to discuss the issue with the other Directors who were also at the meeting.  His answer was a blatant “no”.  Instead he followed the CKHA Administration’s decision to stick to 3 pm because that’s the way it’s always been done.

At that same meeting, SOS /2013 Corporation members had requested from the same SDH Board Chair that they respect the SDH By-Laws for the interview for the 2014  Board of Directors applicants. All we wanted was for the CKHA lawyer (from Toronto) to answer our questions in writing.  Instead, CKHA brings this lawyer from Toronto for the meeting. How much did that cost CKHA? I am sure that the Alliance had to pay for his travel to Wallaceburg plus his legal fees.  What a waste of patient  care money.  The Alliance talks about fiscal control, balancing the budget and yet they waste money on something that could have been shared in a letter. Shame of them for wasting money!

Submitted by

Conrad Noel, SOS Chair and 


Letter to the Editor 

Week of June 1, 2014

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Just Doesn't Get IT!


Sir: On May 26th, I hand delivered to Colin Patey, on behalf of SOS and 2013 SDH Corporation members our nominated list of  SDH Directors to be approved at the SDH AGM on June 26th. 

Our nominated slate of  2014 SDH Directors are:  Herb John, Charlie Kridiotis, Kris Lee, George Lung, Gary Martin, Sheldon Parsons& Jeff Wesley.  Our Community representative is William Steep.

Herb, Kris and Gary are already on CHKA Tri-Board as either Director or Community representative.  George is a retired educator and well known in the community. Sheldon and Jeff are well known in Wallaceburg  as Chatham-Kent  councillors. Charlie is the manager of Crabby Joes in Wallaceburg.  William  is well known in Wallaceburg as a member of United Way and as president for the last three year.

 Our  message has been loud and clear for many months now. We want SDH Directors to  represent the SDH Community.  As announced on numerous occasions, Wallaceburg will no longer be controlled by CKHA nor SDH Directors that will not speak and act on our behalf.  We want to have control as to who will best represent our community.

Here is where the headline of this letter kicks in: “ CKHA Just Doesn’t Get It.” On May 27th, I received an email from Karen Benson of CKHA asking on behalf of the Tri-Board Executive Committee to meet with SOS to review their proposed slate of directors  in order to gain our support for their proposed nominees.

 Did they not get the message that I delivered just the day before?  I already gave them our list of nominees for the 2014 SDH Directors.  My response was that any attempt by CKHA or two of the Tri-Board Executive Committee members to replace anyone on our nominated list will undoubtedly be rejected by the 303 SDH Corporation members at that SDH AGM on June 26th.

Since we do not have a 2013 SDH Board of Directors, due to the five resignations,   the Executive Committee from PGH and SJ  cannot legally according to SDH By-Laws present any  proposed slate of SDH Directors.   I trust that the Colin Patey, CEO of CKHA  will abide by the SDH By-Laws and abide by the wishes of the community.   If not, I am afraid that as Chair of SOS and a SDH Corporation member, I will recommend to the 2014 Corporation members to defeat their proposed list of SDH  Directors.  It’s been done in the past.  CKHA will eventually need to submit the list which needs to be approved by  SDH Corporation members.

On June 16th which is ten days before the June 26th AGM, the 303 SDH Corporation members will receive their agenda for the AGM.  I hope that between now and June 16th, CKHA “will get it” and respect the SOS nominated list of Directors.

Submitted by Conrad Noel, SOS Chair and SDH Corporation member



Delivered to Colin Patey 

May 26th, 2014


Mr. Colin Patey,

CEO Chatham-Kent Health Alliance


SOS (Save Our Sydenham ) / 2013 Sydenham Corporation members nominate the following list of Directors to be approved at the SDH AGM on June 26th, 2014 based on SDH By-Laws , Section 8.06  (d) ii which states:

Nominations for election  as a Director … shall be made through .. Members of the Corporation … is in writing and signed by at least two Members .. (3) is submitted and received by the Secretary at least (30) days ( May 27th) before the AGM (June 26th).

      SDH Directors:

1.      Herb John

2.      Charlie Kridiotis ***

3.      Kris Lee

4.      George Lung

5.      Gary Martin

6.      Sheldon Parsons

7.      Jeff  Wesley

Community representative:


William Steep

**  (Charlie's Application & support documents hand delivered on May 26th)


Submitted by


Conrad Noel, SOS Chair 2013 SDH Corporation member



April 1, 2014

Email from Keith S.


The SOS Website has many items that go back several years to refresh our memories and keep us up to date on current troubles.

It starts with current detailed reports.

You should take at least a brief look at the current items.

You can keep it on your e-mail list and hard drive (it probably has lots of space) and go back and look  some more when you have more time.

Conrad Noel puts a lot of time and effort into saving what is left of our hospital.

If you live in this area you should be supporting his efforts also.

They should be our efforts.

Jeff and Sheldon have used a huge amount of their time, and their families time also.

It is our hospital, even though the Province and the LHIN does not think so.

They have the gall to use our money against us, and they get away with it.

Why are we paying millions of dollars to have  the LHINs do what  the Provincial Ministry of Health with it's thousands of highly paid employees should be doing?

What does our Ministry of Health do?

It seems that they are busy trying to find commercial companies to take over health care at inflated, for-profit prices that we will have to pay.

What is left of our hospital seems to be their next target, starting with the third floor.

A Provincial election is coming soon. Let us not forget who destroyed our hospital system.

Our own Sydenham Hospital Corporation Annual General Meeting is coming in June. Go to it!

You do not have to be a member to attend. However you will not be able to vote if you are not  a member

Thanks Keith for your email and support.



Thursday, Nov. 20th



 On Wednesday, Nov. 20th, representatives from SOS , SDH Corporation members, CK Councilors & CK Health Coalition met to plan a reaction to CKHA Operating Plan to reduce more services and a drastic reduction of staff at  SDH. 

Our objectives are to find answers, inform the public and stop the erosion.

·         We want the 7 SDH Directors to be accountable to this community for their vote to reduce the services at SDH. Each of the 7 members will be polled as to how they voted at the in-camera meeting on Nov. 19th.

 ·         From this task force,  we need to educate the SDH public.  Where  do we draw the line? Enough is enough.  

·         This community needs to petition the government through our MPP, to the Minister of Health, Premier of Ontario in order to prevent SDH from becoming an Urgent Care Centre which means an Emergency and 5 beds not a hospital with full services.

·         We need to establish  a strategy and a plan of action for Directors and Corporation member recruitment.

·         We need to put together a comparison of services available from small and rural hospitals in and adjacent to our LHIN.

·         We need to find out why SDH was removed from the list of a small rural hospital.

·         Invite everyone to follow the development of this task force through the SOS Website:

 A special meeting of the 7 SDH Directors, SDH Corporation members and the public took place on Thursday, Jan. 9th.

Conrad Noel, SOS Chairperson




Sunday, Nov.17th, 2013


Listed below is the Operation plan that was approved by our own SDH Directors who were elected to represent the best interest of Sydenham Hospital.  The vote was NOT unanimous but nevertheless it passed.  Once again SDH takes the brunt of the reductions. When will we ever have elected SDH Directors who will not allow cuts and reductions like these to ever take place?


****Karen fails to mention that a large number of employees will not longer be employed at SDH and Lab services will be Point of Care vs the efficient lab services that we use to have.  No wonder Doctors are gradually withdrawing their services at SDH.

Subject:  CKHA Operating Plan provided by Karen Benson, CKHA


Complex continuing care and outpatient endoscopy currently delivered on both campuses will be consolidated at Chatham.

 The Long Term Care beds shortfall for Chatham Kent will be newly provided at Wallaceburg.

Comments; lab services remain the same for the doctors just a change in technology, the location of the medicine beds relocate next to the Emergency Department. That’s pretty much it.



Emergency Department

Ambulatory Care

Medicine Unit

Complex Continuing Care

Diagnostic Imaging

Lab Services

Outpatient Services – NP Clinic and Physiotherapy




Emergency Department

Ambulatory Care

Medicine Unit

Diagnostic Imaging

Lab Services

Outpatient Services – NP Clinic and Physiotherapy

Interim LTC




Thursday, Nov. 14th, 2013


Why only the media?  How about SDH Directors and supporters? I would encourage anyone to attend.  



Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013

 As SOS Chairperson, I attended the Tri-Board meeting of the CKHA on Tuesday Nov. 12th but the important agenda item in regards to SDH was in the in-camera meeting  which of course is not open to the public.

What I heard today is that CKHA administration was meeting staff at SDH to advise them of the cut backs and removal of more services from SDH.

Here are some of the rumors: 


Some of the third floor chronic care patients to be moved to Chatham. How many?  No idea.

Third floor to be operated by someone else and not CKHA possible with a 5 year lease. 

Endoscopy equipment to be moved to Chatham.

Lab to to be totally moved to Chatham with only Point Of Care to be left in Wallaceburg.

ER is in jeopardy once again. Rationale: Doctors getting older; out of town ER doctors more difficult to get..etc

What else did they tell them?  We will soon find out.

As we all know, CKHA has been slowly and gradually reducing and removing services from SDH.  What is left?  What else is to be removed?  We need answers.

How can our Sydenham Directors allow these cut backs to occur?  I believe that the SDH supporters/Corporation members need to call /email the SDH Directors for answers. If cut backs occur it's because there is a majority vote from Allan Klinck, Wendy Weston, Ted Dalios, Ed Freeburn, Herb John, Gary Martin and Paul Weese.   Because this was an in camera item, I don't know who voted in favour or against.  There are at least 4 Directors who voted in favour of the motion.

What this tells me as SOS chair, is that we need to vote in our own Directors and no longer agree with the recommended members from CKHA.

*** Stay tuned to this as a major task force will be set up to recruit SDH Corporation members and encourage people to become SDH Directors. It is our responsibility to get our own members to protect SDH from totally disappearing or becoming a First Aid Post.


Will keep you posted as more details are available.


CKHA to discuss role of EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT on Thursday, May 30th in the Wallaceburg District Secondary School cafeteria from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. CKHA CEO Colin Patey  will make a presentation about the role of the emergency department as well as the leadership crisis at Sydenham District Hospital.  Everyone is invited but only those who renewed their SDH Corporation membership will be able to vote.  Call Karen Benson at 519-437-6001 or email to register.



Note from Conrad:  On behalf of SOS, I would encourage anyone concerned with these cuts, to join Shirley and me on this trip to Toronto on Tuesday June 4th.  To reserve your seat, call Shirley @ 519-677-4470 or Conrad 519-359-6119


       HOLY Redeemer Parish Cluster parishioners and new readers:

Welcome to the SOS website


For those logging on for the first time, I would like to wish you a very special welcome.  SOS was established in order to save Sydenham District Hospital from closing. Five years later,we are still fighting to keep SDH viable.  Just visit SDH and see for yourself what is left.

By April / May 2014  the Complex Continuing Care patients will be consolidated at the Chatham Campus.  The  Long Term Care beds that we have on the third floor are going to be leased out by the CKHA to a third party which of course will be a private for profit firm. All Endoscopy tests will be consolidated to the Chatham Campus. No more day surgery at SDH. The Ambulance dispatch is no longer with CKHA.  Again, we are fortunate that they have not moved out of the present building behind the hospital.

CHKA and the ESLIN  through the !magine project have  plans in the work for a new building which would include Emergency, Diagnostic Services, Ambulatory Care but  in a Campus of Care model at a cost of around 68 million dollars. SOS has tried to convince them of the needs for hospital beds but we have been ignored.  The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has referred us back to the ESLHIN. They actually control the purse. The ESLHIN has made it very clear right from day one that they want a Campus of Care model in Wallaceburg.

Fortunately, the ER will remain open 24/7.  But there is always the possibility that ER doctors may not always be available.  So far, we have been very successful. What will an ER look like in a Campus of Care model is yet to be seen. Most serious cases bypass SDH and are ambulanced directly to the Chatham ER.

HOW CAN YOU  HELP?  SOS is asking you to become a voting member of the Sydenham Corporation.  By paying your membership of $10.00 you will be eligible to vote at the Annual meeting on June 26th at the Baldoon Golf Club for the 7 Directors who will need to prove to all of us that they wholeheartedly support Sydenham District Hospital and will stop all future erosion. 

Up to 2014, we have not had even a simple majority of the 7 Sydenham Tri-Board members speaking unanimously in support of our hospital. They have been carefully  selected by the Chatham Kent Health Alliance.  The present Sydenham Tri-Board Chair does not even live close to the SDH hospital catchment.  How can he and others truly represent our interest?   Unfortunately, the previous Corporation members have voted for these Directors and we have paid the price. We have been deceived year after year by Directors whom we believed to support us.

For the first time, the SDH catchment community must be able to rely on the next  7 Directors who will represent us at the CKHA Tri-Board  council.  It’s crucial that you attend the Sydenham  Annual General Meeting.

IF you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me through email : or call my cell after 6:00 pm at 519-359-6119.

   Conrad Noel, SOS Chairperson



January 9th, 2014

Become a Voting Member of Your Sydenham District Hospital Now - This is Important...and there is a deadline!

In order to vote at the Sydenham District Hospital Annual General Meeting on June 26th you must complete and send in a paid membership of  $10.00 before March 31, 2014. Completed memberships and payments can be mailed to:

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

P.O. Box 2030

Chatham, Ontario

N7M 5L9

Att: Mrs. K. Benson

 or dropped off at the former Council chamber at Wallaceburg Town Hall before March 31, 2014.

This is very important as it will give you the opportunity to elect SDH Directors at the meeting on June 26th.  Directors who will represent our community on the SDH Board and CKHA Tri-Board.

Please do this before the deadline. Pass this on to friends and family members and encourage them to join as well. Remember there is a deadline to join.

 Forms are available from Cathy Patterson @ 519-627-1210

                                              Conrad Noel  @ 519-359-619


January 1, 2014


Happy and Prosperous New Year

As Chair of SOS, my hope and wishes for 2014 are :

That Sydenham District Hospital continue to serve this community through a transparent and honest commitment by CKHA.

That there will be no further reductions in services at SDH.

That numerous interested and committed individuals  (at least 7) come forth and apply for a Director’s position on the CKHA Tri-Board so that they can truly represent SDH catchment community.

That  100’s of  SDH  individuals renew their membership or become new members of SDH Corporation.

That Wallaceburg receives the gift of at least 2-3 new family physicians.

That this SOS website continues  to inform its readers and to  receive  comments and suggestions from anyone logging on.


Conrad Noel, SOS Chairperson



Nov. 1, 2012


Conrad's personal comments to the Hospital mergers:

Our Sydenham Hospital was in the black and operating efficiently. What did we get after the merger?  Anything to brag about?  NO!!

 Using words that I have heard from Wallaceburg residents: "CKHA raped Sydendam and they are gradually sucking the life out of Sydenham". " "What's next to go"?  So much for an imposed merger.


Hospital mergers don't work, study finds

Mountains   of money spent but not a penny of proof of benefit — that's the ledger after Ontario merged or shut down 87 hospitals in a process that in London alone cost nearly $1.3 billion.

The Mike Harris-led Conservatives, who championed the change in 1996, promised more efficient and seamless care for patients — a system under which hospitals would save money because they wouldn't compete to attract patients, but, instead, would work together.

But 16 years later, no one has measured how restructuring affected costs or care, or even how many billions of tax dollars were spent.

"The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has not been tracking the money spent on hospital restructuring and mergers," said ministry spokesperson David Jensen.

Into that vacuum comes a new study this year that found mergers were not helpful to public health systems — they were the enemy. Starting in 1997, the United Kingdom underwent its own restructuring, merging 112 of 223 acute-care hospitals by 2006.

The study's authors compared the merged and un-merged hospitals, pairing otherwise similar hospitals. The merged hospitals fared worse.

"Financial performance declines, labour productivity does not change, waiting times for patients rise and there is no indication of an increase in clinical quality," the study concludes.

Mergers reduce choice for patients and competition among hospitals, changes that make hospitals less efficient, says Carol Propper, a professor of economics at the Imperial College Business School in London, England.

None of the mergers there produced a net positive effect, she said. The number of staff dropped, but so did the number of patients — so productivity remained the same.

Since 2006, the U.K. has tried to increase competition, enabling patients to choose any hospital and providing them details about how each hospital measures up across different procedures and surgeries — there are close to 40 measures for hip replacement surgery alone.

With the price of hospital care set nationally, the competition has led to better quality care, Propper said.

There is nothing approaching that vigorous market of information and choice for patients in Ontario, where the only measure comparing hospitals on specific procedures is an incomplete look at waiting times.

Before restructuring here, Londoners could chose among three hospitals. Now, with two hospitals left and almost no overlap in services, patient choice is down to one.

But those who play roles in Ontario's hospitals aren't convinced by the research in the U.K., even while acknowledging there's nothing like it here.

"I don't think there's been anything like the U.K. study in Ontario," said Pat Campbell, chief executive of the Ontario Hospital Association and former head of Grey Bruce Health Services and Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

There have been so many changes to health care since 1996 that it would be exceedingly difficult to tease out the specific effect of hospital mergers and closings, she said.

While Ontario hospitals may not match up well to some in Europe, they still fare well compared to hospitals in other Canadian provinces, she said.

"We have a very efficient hospital system relative to the rest of the country," Campbell said. "But there's no question Ontario health care has room to improve."

Also skeptical after a preliminary look at the study is Dan Ross, a member of the commission that recommended sweeping changes for health care in the province.

Though Canadian and British hospitals are largely funded by tax dollars, there are key differences.

"It's not an apples to apples comparison," said Ross, who heads the London Health Sciences Foundation.

Restructuring in Ontario was supposed to be a top-to-bottom transformation. But the Tory government dragged its heels on funding for changes to hospitals and didn't provide at all for other aspects recommended by the Health Care Restructuring Commission, whose leading members penned a look back at their efforts called Riding the Third Rail.

The chair of that commission, Duncan Sinclair, and the chief executive, Mark Rochon wouldn't comment on the U.K. study, the latter because his firm, KPMG, is involved with a client he wouldn't name.

--- --- ---


· Begun in 1996, was to be done in 2000 but dragged out for more than another decade.

· 43 hospitals closed

· 44 hospital sites merged into 14

· Health Ministry hasn't tracked costs or measured effects

· In London, South Street hospital closed, University and Victoria hospitals merged and services were moved to prevent overlap, all at a cost of nearly $1.3 billion.

--- --- ---


"Most capital redevelopment projects differ radically from those ordered."

Leaders of restructuring commission reflect on successes and failures in their book, Riding the Third Rail.

"Little evidence that mergers achieved gains."

2012 study by Bristol Institute of Public Affairs in the United Kingdom




September 11,2012


Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8

tel: 416-441-2502 email:

September 10, 2012 For Immediate Release

Attn: Assignment Editor

Ontario Conservative Party Health Paper A Recipe for Privatization:

Ontario Health Coalition

Toronto – Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak should be required to answer tough questions resulting from the release of the PC Party’s White Paper on Health Care, say Ontario Health Coalition leaders. Among the coalition’s key observations:

The PC Party White Paper repeatedly uses manipulative and incorrect assertions about health spending in Ontario. In fact, Ontario funds health care at almost the lowest level in Canada: 8th of 10 provinces.

It recommends a system in which there is no democratic governance over any facet of health care of the regional health systems. It calls for the expanded influence of undemocratic, self-selecting hospital boards.

It would set up a system in which 30 – 40 hospital corporations and physician committees would run contracting (termed “commissioning” in the report) systems for privatized home, long-term care and other services. This is the opposite of a public health care system and would lead to massive privatization.

It calls for an expansion of fee-for-service hospital funding (euphemistically termed “patient-centred funding” in the White Paper). This system will drive up surgical volumes instead of prevention and promotion, while at the same time depriving hospitals of funding for such things as hospital cleaning, food, and medical procedures and practices that are not widget-like and do not fit into this funding model.

The 30-40 regional hospital hubs would appear to put all health providers in that region under the authority of the powerful hospital in that region, without any democratic checks and balances. Already amalgamated hospital corporations in Ontario that are dominated by a larger hospital, have been trying to cut and close down small and rural hospitals in order to centralize their budgets into the large sites. The White Paper does not speak at all to the need to protect the small and rural health services, rather, it centralizes power into 30 -40 large hubs.

The plan lacks crucial details, such as how physician-led primary care committees would scrutinize performance and how that might be different than the current system of professional Colleges; what is the role of the rest of the health team; how powers would be divided between the Ministry and the regional hospital “hubs”; what services would be included and which would be excluded – ie. labs, long-term care homes; what precisely is meant by enhanced accountability for the Minister of Health when the legion of privatized service providers in this model are controlled by self-selecting undemocratic boards accountable to regional hubs – also self-selecting and undemocratic -- for their funding.


“Ontario funds health care at nearly the lowest level of any province in Canada, “noted Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “The claims in the PC Party’s White Paper about health spending are manipulative, and frankly dishonest. ”

“The model that Ontario’s PC Party is drawing from comes from the United States. It is a failed privatization scheme in which government supposedly “steers” the system and the private sector “rows”,” said Ross Sutherland, R.N.,M.A., Community Chairperson of the Ontario Health Coalition. “It is anti-democratic. It led to exploding health costs in the U.S. It doesn’t work because the for-profit motive “rows” against the public interest at every turn, increasing costs, decreasing quality, and working against integration.”

“This White Paper is not a recipe for integration of health care. It is a recipe for privatization,” concluded Ms. Mehra. “In our haste to get rid of the LHINs-- something the Health Coalition supports-- let’s not jump from the frying pan into the fire.”

Fact Check on PC White Paper Claims

Claim: Health spending in Ontario is out-of-control, too high, inefficient, soaring etc.

Fact: According to the most reliable data in Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2011 figures: Ontario funds health care at nearly the lowest level of any province in Canada. On both a per capita (per person) and GDP basis, Ontario is 8th of 10 provinces in health care funding. Charts showing funding are available at: (page 11).

Claim: Fee-for-service hospital funding is “patient centred”.

Fact: Paying hospitals on a fee-for-service basis encourages hospitals to increase volumes for the specific services that they get fees for (eg. cataracts) while steering funding away from other needs that might be very urgent. For example, one Ontario hospital, deep in deficit with backlogged emergency departments and patients waiting for days on stretchers, had to return money to the Ministry of Health because it didn’t meet the volume targets for its “fee-for-service” cataract funding. In addition to the administrative burden engendered by this system, it neither reflects the public’s priorities and values, nor does it meet the basic test of common sense. It increases, rather than decreasing, the number of bureaucracies involved in making decisions about where hospital funding is targeted. And with no democratic governance at the hospital and LHIN level, and with an unresponsive Ministry of Health, it is harder for patients than ever to impact hospital priorities.

Claim: The Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) have become top-heavy under the Liberal government.

Fact: The CCACs were set up by the Conservatives who then forced CCACs to divest themselves of direct service provision and contract it out, even when it was demonstrated to cost more. This was done to force the for-profit privatization of home care. Now, the majority of home care sold back to taxpayers by for-profit chain companies. Home care has multiple layers of administration and hordes of duplicate companies and administrations in order to facilitate this privatized system which does not exist in any other province.

What is Missing from the PC White Paper

Protections for patient access to care

Patients should be forced out of hospital without proper care to cut budgets or to meet arbitrary targets for Emergency Department wait times. Patients need regulations to stop hospitals from discharging patients without appropriate home and long-term care in place. Patients need real enforcem


May 2, 2013

Attn: Assignment Editor                                                                                              For Immediate Release


Bad News Budget Will Result in Health Care Cuts and Privatization:




Nov. 29th, 2012


As your SOS chairperson, I strongly encourage everyone to attend the Chatham-Kent Health Coalition public meeting on:

Thursday  December 6th from 1-4 at Smitty's on McNaughton Ave in Chatham  


 Wallaceburg on Thursday Dec. 6th from 7-9 pm at the CBD Club on Dufferin Ave.


The purpose of the meeting is to provide clarity to the public surrounding public health care and local health services.


The Ontario Health Coalition's Director, Natalie Mehra from Toronto will also be present at both meetings.


Please pass the word around.


Conrad Noel

SOS Chairperson


ent and penalties when hospitals charge illegal fees for hospital beds and services. Patients need a clear plan to improve access to long-term care homes and home care.

Protections for small and rural health care services

Large hospital corporations and the Toronto-centred Ministry of Health cannot be allowed to close down rural and remote access to health care. Patients need clear policies that protect local health care services from being cut or moved out-of-town.

A team-based approach to primary care

Ontario has made great progress in moving ahead with new Community Health Centres, introducing nurse-led clinics, and forging many more family health teams. The full use of the health care team will be required to improve quality of care, meet population growth and aging pressures, and improve access to care in underserved communities.

A clear commitment to improve funding of health care to meet population need

No matter what new structures are created, there will be backlogs and long-waits, and care will be rationed, if funding is inadequate. Ontario needs a plan to move our health funding toward the average among Canadian provinces from near the bottom where we now sit.

A clear commitment to public non-profit health care

“Commissioning” or privatization of health care has long been demonstrated to cost more and lead to poorer access and poorer quality. Patients need a clear commitment that health care will be based on the principle of our public health system: democratically governed (public) and focused on access to and quality of care; not privately controlled (undemocratic) and focused on profit-taking.

For more information: Ontario Health Coalition 416-441-2502.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8


July 26   

Conrad's letter to the editors of Courier Press & Chatham Daily News



Dear Sir,

CKHA CEO Colin Patey stated in a memorandum  dated July 23, 2012“…we can live within our means while continuing to deliver exceptional patient care at CKHA”.   Patey needs to define exceptional care. There is already and  we will have less staff, less equipment for staff to do their job and of course greater waiting times in the ER.  Nurses are always doing their best but feel the insecurity of lay-offs or downsizing or forced retirement.  In my humble opinion, that’s not exceptional care.

Once again, Sydenham District Hospital will be seriously affected in two major areas: 1) Reduction of Complex Continuing Care beds, 2) Lab services being  replaced by Point of Care testing.

Ten   Complex Care beds at SDH will  be phased out  during the next 5 months.  Did you know that complex care patients need to pay from their income such as CPP and Old Age Security with the  balance of their  fees based on their other income?  That’s revenue that no one talks about.   So in reality, how much are the Complex Care patients really costing the CKHA?

In a letter to Counsellors  Wesley and Parsons, Patey  writes: “CKHA cannot continue to be in the Long Term Care business when core acute programs are placed at risk”.  We only have 5 observation beds at Sydenham hospital (and they are not acute beds) therefore how can the 40 paying complex care patients place the acute programs at risk? 

Lab services at Sydenham will be reduced by  4 full time lab technicians leaving the equivalent staffing to 1.6. Point of Care services will be imposed on the already understaffed  and overworked  nursing staff.  Who will be blamed if ever a fatal error occurs?

Sir: I would strongly recommend that CEO Colin Patey and his HR team act on the following few suggestions:

1         Totally reduce CKHA’s subsidy  to the physical fitness building/ equipment in the Chatham building.

2         Impose  a status quo of annual wage increases and benefits for the next two years. I know it hurts but it’s better than cutting direct patient care staff.

3   Have a moratorium on hiring outside consultants for any purpose for the next two years.

4        Reduce HR/ administrative staff by  50 % or at least 25%.  How can Patey justify his exorbitant HR/administrative budget when anyone dealing with direct patient care is the first to be let go?  It must be the opposite.

To all readers, if you agree with any of my suggestions, call CKHA CEO Patey at 519-437-6000 or email  He needs to hear from 1000’s of us. Contact your representative Directors on the Tri-board.

Remember: The squeaky wheel  gets the grease.

Submitted by

Conrad Noel, Save our Sydenham (SOS) Chairperson



The letter from Colin Patey (22-08-2012) indicates that SDH will be drastically affected in two major areas: 

1) "CKHA cannot continue to be in the Long Term Care business". SDH has a 90 % occupancy of elderly patients on the 3rd floor. That's about 45 elderly patients. Get ready for the inevitable.  Third floor Complex Care patients are less important "because they place the core acute programs at risk."  Accordingly, these patients must be admitted elsewhere in the community.  Let someone care for them. It's cheaper.

2) Sydenham's lab is inefficient  therefore a Point of Care testing will begin at the Sydenham Campus with the Emergency Department.  How will this work for the ER when the blood work has to be magically sent to Chatham( by taxi, I assume), analysed in Chatham (hopefully there is no backlog in the |Chatham lab ) and then sent back to SDH ER?  Is this going to be more effective,  cheaper and not placing the patient at risk? Let's not forget that the patient is in an emergency situation.  When the lab closes, will CKHA transfer the inefficient equipment to Chatham? Let's wait and see.   


It's time to react and ask questions before it's too late.  Call Colin Patey 519-437-6000 or email him  Tell him your story about someone on the Complex Care floor.  Maybe you can also give him some suggestions where he can find  $5 million to balance their budget by 2014 / 2015


As your SOS chair, I also need your input, comments & suggestions.  The old saying ``Silence is golden`` does NOT apply. We all need to react before it's too late.

 Email me:



July  24

Letter from Colin Patey, CKHA CEO to Councillors Jeff Wesley & Sheldon Parsons.

Re: Achieving a balanced budget by 2014-2015.

Jeff and Sheldon;

As councillors I am reaching out to you to inform you of plans just released at the Alliance to begin the process of achieving a balanced budget by 2014/15, a $5 million adjustment to our operations (due to 0% increase and labour contracts). This is consistent with what you have read or heard that hospitals across Ontario are doing to each address similar challenges. London made recent news with a projected $40 million challenge.

Yesterday we met with our Labour Partners to communicate our plans and to work together to minimize the impact to staff. This morning our Management is meeting with departmental staff. As well July through to September 27th we will be holding scheduled information sessions for staff.

Our Plans include a broad front of initiatives to change the way we provide services by focusing on core services and the role of a model community hospital, integrate more with our community partners to deliver to the patient seamless quality care, and do things more efficiently.

We will be reducing bed capacity and to do so by working with our physicians to reduce lengths of stay. Most of our clinical programs already operate in the 25th percentile of their peer group and we are at or below expected cost per case, which means there is little “fat” to cut. Yet we will continue to focus were we can expect results. Complex continuing care has an occupancy rate of 90%, however Alternative Level of Care (ALC) is almost 45% of that occupancy. We aim to leverage investments made in Home First, Aging at Home, Activation and Assess and Restore, and work with the LHIN to build community convalescent care capacity. CKHA cannot continue to be in the Long Term Care business when core acute programs are placed at risk.

Sydenham’s Lab is currently inefficient and this was highlighted when a full review of CKHA’s Lab Services was conducted last Fall. CKHA will implement point of care testing beginning at the Sydenham Campus with the Emergency Department. Point of Care testing is done elsewhere, it’s faster, more efficient and does not compromise patient care. This is particularly true in cases where test results taking hours can be done in less than 20 minutes and delivers shorter wait times in the Emergency Department. In 2011, Accreditation Canada introduced a new Point of Care Testing Standard, which further illustrates that it is a common and accepted practise in Canada.

The above two issues are the ones I think you are most likely to hear about but are only a few of the things we are doing: consolidation of Women’s and Children and Paediatrics, more closure of Operating Theatre times, collocation with CMHA and CHC through innovative models for community-based services, programs to control use of sick-time and over-time, etc.

I have alerted Karen, my assistant, to reach me at any time should you call for more information and details.

Kind regards


Colin Patey

President & CEO

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030
Chatham, ON N7M 5L9
Tel: 519-437-6000 Fax: 519-436-2522


Revised and posted on July 19th, 2012


The June 26th ESLHIN  conditional endorsement of the CKHA revised !magine proposal  to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care  did not include the 31 funded beds for Sydenham District Hospital. 


ESLHIN directors vote on what their administration recommends to them.


Their endorsement motion is for ER only and additional planning will be required given  Ministry policy decision on acute beds.   Whatever that will be!


What do we do next?   We wait for now and we get ready for the next step.


SOS executive agrees to make the 31 funded bed demand for the new  Sydenham District Hospital directly to the Minister of Health, Premier of Ontario ,Tim Hudak, Andrea Horwath, Monte McNaughton, Rick Nicholls and Bob Bailey. 


When  the timing is right, SOS will proceed with the letter campaign.


We believe that a letter campaign is much  more effective than a signed petition. Your letter will certainly get everyone's attention to the fact that the Sydenham District Hospital community believes that SDH (officially designated by the Premier as a rural hospital) must be a full service hospital. The new hospital must meet not only the present (whenever the new building would be constructed)  but at least the next 50 years  for our community.


ESLHIN to hold their June board meeting here in Wallaceburg. 


Mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 26th at 2:00 pm Oaks Inn in Walllaceburg. 


As of June 14th, the ESLHIN administration /staff are reviewing the CKHA !magine proposals. On June 26th, they will be presenting their recommendations to their Board of Directors. 


As your SOS chairperson,I hope that you will support SOS with your presence at the ESLHIN decision making meeting on the future of Sydenham District Hospital. 


Will it be an ER with only 5 beds or a hospital with much more than 5 beds?  Remember, SOS is asking for the ER and a hospital with 31 beds.


Your mission is to call 5 people. Tell them about this important meeting. Then ask each one of them to call 5 of their friends so that the Oaks Inn will be filled to capacity on June 26th at 2:00 pm.


If you require more information, please email me: or



May 22, 2012


On Tuesday, May 22nd, I attended the ESLHIN Directors' meeting. During the 5 min. open mic period, I addressed our concerns that a new hospital with only 5 holding beds did not justify a 79 million expense nor did it meet the present nor future needs of SDH. SOS's request is for 31 funded beds.  

I also presented our 575 signed letters to CEO Gary Switzer.


What happens now? 

ESLHIN staff is preparing their report for the Directors' June 26th meeting. I am very hopeful that their recommendations will take our concerns into consideration. 


Meanwhile, I will send copies of the signed letter and pertinent data to Premier McGuinty, Deb.Mattthews, Minister of Health & Long Term Care, and MPP's Monte McNaughton, Bob Bailey and Rick Nicholls. 


Sincere thanks to everyone who has helped out and sincere thanks to all 575  who have signed the letter.


May 3, 2012 

Mr. Gary Switzer, CEO                                                     

Erie St. Clair LHIN

180 Riverview Drive

Chatham ON  N7M 5Z8


Dear Mr. Switzer:


Re:  CKHA !magine W1 project for Wallaceburg


This is to advise you that the CKHA !magine W1 Wallaceburg  Primary Care / Community Care model with an Emergency Department and 5 Acute beds does NOT meet the present nor future needs of Sydenham District Hospital.


A catchment area of 20,000 to 25,000 residents needs more than five (5) holding beds. Also, the trauma of transferring every patient requiring hospitalization not only endangers lives, but is costly.


As a community, we request that the W1 !magine project must include a minimum of 31 funded beds to be designated as follows: medicine, intensive care, surgery, paediatrics, family medicine and complex continuing care.


To you, sir, and through copies of this letter to Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, Deb Matthews, Minister of Health & Long-Term Care, plus local MPPs, we make clear that this community believes that the CKHA proposal is missing a key ingredient in making SDH a full service community hospital.


The ESLHIN recommendation to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s capital planning branch must include a minimum of 31 funded beds.


May I hear from each of the recipients of this letter in a timely manner.







Printed name: __________________________________________________________

Full Address :___________________________________________________________


Postal code : _______________________________

Telephone  :_______________________________


Member of the Sydenham District Hospital Wallaceburg and Area Community


cc:  Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario                                           

     Hon. Deborah Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care  

     Monte McNaughton, MPP

     Bob Bailey, MPP

     Rick Nicholls,MPP

     SOS Committee


*** Change in Save our Sydenham (SOS) chair                     

Due to his personal work load and heavy demands representing Wallaceburg on Chatham-Kent Council, Jeff Wesley has stepped down as Chairperson of the SOS executive committee.  Jeff will continue as a member of the SOS executive.


Conrad Noel, Vice chairperson has agreed to take over the role of Chairperson of SOS.

On behalf of the SOS team and everyone who has been involved in fighting for our Sydenham District Hospital, I want to thank Jeff for the hundreds of hours that he has spent representing the community as Chairperson of SOS.  It has not been an easy task but Jeff has always received the support of his executive and the community at large.  Jeff’s in-depth knowledge and experience cannot be duplicated nor replaced. 

Thank you, Jeff.

 Conrad Noel, SOS Chairperson


***  A new NO_BED hospital!  published on Thursday, April 26th edition of the Courier Press has been paid by SOS. 


March 27, 2012 For Immediate Release

Ontario Budget Leaves More than 30,000 Ontarians

Waiting for Health Care

In a provincial budget that notes Ontario is a “low tax” (and low service) province that spends the least on public services of any province in Canada, the government has unapologetically written a provincial budget that will lead to ballooning health care wait lists, more out-of-pocket costs, and unsafe conditions for Ontario patients.

“The funding levels for health care services in the provincial budget are worse than expected,” noted Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Funding levels announced for hospitals and long-term care are far less than what is needed to maintain existing services, let alone address backlogs. The result will be major cuts to needed care services, longer wait lists for long-term care and unsafe conditions in our hospitals.

“The good news is a substantial increase per year in home care funding, up from the pattern of the last decade which has seen home care shrink as a proportion of health care spending,” she said. “With the new investment, it is time to create a public non-profit home care system. Otherwise this budget is a recipe for privatization by stealth: moving care from public and non-profit hospitals to for-profit home care companies and nursing homes.”

“While increases in home care are needed and will help those who are eligible and appropriate for such services, they are not a total “trade-off” with the hospital cuts,” she explained. “To pretend otherwise is simplistic and manipulative, and ignores the real health needs of thousands of Ontarians.”

“Furthermore, red flags should be raised by the budget announcement of “more flexibility” within long-term care homes’ funding for operators to spend money where they choose, since most of these facilities are owned by for-profit companies, including large multinational profit-seeking chains,” she warned.

After years of corporate tax cuts, the provincial budget proposes to pay for the ensuing deficit by, not only the impending hospital cuts and burgeoning long-term care wait lists, but also by freezing the minimum wage and social assistance, worsening income inequality, one of the most significant social determinants of health.

Key issues:

Prior to the provincial election, the government projected 3.6% annual funding increases for health care. Don Drummond proposed 2.5%. This budget announces 2.1%.

The budget announces a hospital funding freeze. Hospital global budgets are set at 0%; less than inflation and population growth/aging factors. This will result in hospital deficits and another round of major hospital cuts across Ontario. Ontario has cut more than 18,500 hospital beds since 1990 and now has the fewest hospital beds per capita of any province in Canada and funds hospitals less than all other provinces but one. The evidence is clear that hospital cuts have already gone too far. Already hospital occupancy rates average 98% across Ontario – a level that is so unsafe as to be unheard of in developed countries. Ontario has extraordinarily long wait times for patients waiting in emergency departments to be admitted into hospital because we have such a severe shortage of beds into which to admit patients. This budget puts rural hospitals at serious risk.

There are more than 30,000 Ontarians on long-term care wait lists. This budget contains nothing new to alleviate these waits which Health Quality Ontario reports have tripled since 2005.

The budget is almost entirely focused on moving patients into the cheapest mode of care, not on meeting need for care.

At the same time as the government is severely curtailing hospital funding, they are introducing a new funding formula. British physicians wrote an open letter to Canadian governments warning about the new payment for procedure system that Ontario is adopting, citing its destabilizing and privatizing effects.

The budget announces new user fees for high-income seniors receiving Ontario Drug Benefits. The OHC is concerned about eroding universality in our health care system – the principle that holds that “judge” and “janitor” should share a hospital ward, ensuring that the judges have an interest in keeping good quality services for everyone. If the government is willing to introduce user fees for wealthy seniors, why not just tax the wealthy?

For more information: Natalie Mehra 416-230-6402 or OHC office 416-441-2502.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8
March 21 National Post

Matt Gurney: Wilfully blind McGuinty tells the truth, technically

Ahead of next week’s Ontario provincial budget, expected to be a shock to those who got used to the free-spending ways of the Dalton McGuinty-led Liberals, reports have emerged that Ontario will delay or outright cancel a series of hospital construction projects they had promised in the run-up to last October’s provincial election. Several new hospitals would be built in Toronto’s fast growing 905-region suburbs, Mr. McGuinty announced last September, and several existing hospitals within the city of Toronto would have been expanded. All told, the commitments totaled $5-billion in new or improved medical facilities.

Some of them might still be built — the Toronto region has grown rapidly and supply must grow with de mand. But Ontario is essentially broke. It needs to dramatically curtail spending to avoid devastating credit downgrades, and to enable the government to get the provincial books back to balance, as planned, by 2017/18. That has led some to ask whether Mr. McGuinty deliberately misled voters in the run-up to the election by making promises he knew he couldn’t keep. The answer to that is complicated, but in short — no, he didn’t. Not exactly. He played dumb. And the other leaders let him. They were playing dumb, too.

Everyone knew ahead of the Ontario election that the province was in bad shape. The Liberals had spent the last eight years spending more and more and more, and when the recession came along and destroyed what was left of Ontario’s manufacturing sector, the province suddenly found itself with lots of commitments but few means to live up to them. That was when Mr. McGuinty and his Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, put together the Drummond Commission, led by respected economist Don Drummond, to prepare a comprehensive report on how Ontario could avoid fiscal doom. And they scheduled the report to arrive just after the election.

The beauty of that, of course, is that the Liberals could promise all they want (like, just to pick an example out of thin air, billions for new and expanded hospitals in the Toronto area) and then act all gobsmacked when it turns out that, gosh, the province is bust. Sorry, folks. We really would have liked to have built you that big, fancy new medical facility, but don’tcha know it, we’re out of cash! Cute. And it’s something they should have been called out for during the election campaign. But neither of the opposition parties seemed all that interested in giving the Liberals (and the voters) a harsh reality check. Because living in Fantasyland wa s something that worked for them, too.

The provincial NDP don’t just live in Fantasyland, of course. They’re from there. So they can almost be forgiven. But the provincial Tories, the Progressive Conservatives, actually specifically ran on spending more money than Mr. McGuinty in certain areas. The Tories, spooked by attacks that compared current leader Tim Hudak to past premier Mike Harris, whose controversial legacy of spending cuts lingers still, made a very deliberate choice to downplay any plans they may have had to make cuts to spending. Oh, there were going to be some, to be sure — 2% a year to every ministry that wasn’t health care or education. But that was so that Mr. Hudak could reassure the public that he wasn’t about to go all slashy-slashy on the province by publicly stating, loudly and often, that, heavens no, he wasn’t going to be a slash-and-burn Tory. He was going to spend more … in some areas, the fine print read.

Of course, Mr. Hudak was playing the same game as Mr. McGuinty. Placate the voters, buy time, get elected, then panic after the Drummond Report lands, to the “surprise” of all. It sort of worked, or sort of didn’t work, for either of them — the Liberals were reduced to a minority government, keeping the Tories in opposition, but the Tories very nearly matched them in the popular vote. Only being totally shut out of Toronto and its suburbs prevented the PCs from toppling Mr. McGuinty.

Whenever the next election comes — and given that the Liberals are in a minority, it could technically come at any time, both the Liberals and the Tories will have to actually campaign on the basis of reality, not make-believe. I suppose that’s good news. The bad news, of course, is that the election we just had was, as my f riend Rex Murphy so aptly described it, “idle and vain.” It was a waste of time, an extended bit of political theatre. And all at a time when the Ontario economy frankly doesn’t have any time to waste. Hopefully they’ll do better next time. If they don’t, the people of Ontario will have no one worthy of their vote.

National Post


March 20    From today's online Chatham-Kent Daily Post

Wallaceburg hospital not included in fund model

The Sydenham Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance in Wallaceburg is not a part of funding model announced yesterday by the provincial government in Ontario. The Ontario provincial government is making changes to the way it funds hospitals to ensure families get access to the right health care, at the right time and in the right place.

The Liberal government says the new patient-based funding model will see hospitals funded based on how many patients they see, the services they deliver, the quality of those services and other specific community needs.

Currently, hospitals get a lump sum based on their previous year's budget with no link to the type or quality of care they provide. "Our current funding model for hospitals is out of date and doesn't reflect the needs of the communities they serve," stated Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "As part of our Action Plan we are implementing a system that funds hospitals to increase services where needed, deliver quality care more efficiently and serve more patients." Working in partnership with hospitals, Ontario will phase in the new patient-based funding model over the next three years.

The new model will also provide a better return for taxpayer dollars and result in: * Shorter wait times and better access to care in their communities * More services, where they are needed * Better quality care with less variation between hospitals. Allowing health care funding to follow the patient instead of the hospital is part of the McGuinty government's Action Plan for Health Care and builds upon the significant progress that has been made in improving Ontario's health care system since 2003.

 Quick facts *
91 hospitals are transitioning to the patient-based funding model.
* 55 small hospitals will be excluded from the new model to recognize the unique role they play within their communities. *

Other jurisdictions have been using this type of funding model and have shown benefits such as decreased wait times and a higher number of procedures. Sweden adopted a similar model in 1992, England in 2003 and British Columbia and Alberta in 2010.

 Here's a list of the hospitals not included in the new funding model:
 TORONTO Casey House ALLISTON Stevenson Memorial CAMPBELLFORD Memorial HALIBURTON Highlands Health Centre ALEXANDRIA Glengarry Memorial ALMONTE General ARNPRIOR District Memorial BARRYS BAY St Francis Memorial CARLETON PLACE And District DEEP RIVER And District KEMPTVILLE District RENFREW Victoria WALLACEBURG Sydenham District DUNNVILLE Haldimand War Mem HAGERSVILLE West Haldimand Gen BLIND RIVER District Health Centre CHAPLEAU Health Services COCHRANE Lady Minto ENGLEHART And District ESPANOLA General Hospital HEARST Notre Dame HORNEPAYNE Community IROQUOIS FALLS Anson General KAPUSKASING Sensenbrenner KIRKLAND LAKE And District LITTLE CURRENT Manitoulin HC MATHESON Bingham Memorial MATTAWA General SMOOTH ROCK FALLS General STURGEON FALLS West Nipissing Gen WAWA Lady Dunn HC ATIKOKAN General DRYDEN Regional H C FORT FRANCES Riverside H C Fac Inc GERALDTON District Hospital MANITOUWADGE General Hospital MARATHON Wilson Mem Gen NIPIGON District Memorial RED LAKE Marg Cochenour Mem SIOUX LOOKOUT Meno-Ya-Win H. C. TERRACE BAY Mc Causland NAPANEE Lennox And Add. Gen CLINTON Public EXETER South Huron GODERICH Alexandra Marine And Gen HANOVER And District INGERSOLL Alexandra LISTOWEL Memorial NEWBURY Four Counties H S Corp SEAFORTH Community ST MARYS Memorial TILLSONBURG District Memorial WINGHAM And District FERGUS Groves Memorial Community MOUNT FOREST North Wellington HCC
Feb. 22, 2012

My letter to the editor in this week's Courier Press.

SOS (Save Our Sydenham) executive wants to hear from everyone who has an interest in our Sydenham District Hospital. You're all aware that the CKHA (Chatham-Kent Health Alliance)Board of Directors have approved their !magine stage 1 proposal to move forward with the Primary Care / Community Care model for SDH. Six of our SDH Directors also voted in favour of this option. Why?  I guess we should ask them individually. This option excludes the 45 Complex Continuing Care (CCC) beds that we presently have at SDH. Option A would  at least maintain 20-25 of these Complex Continuing Care beds. As far as I am concerned, without CCC beds their option is NOT acceptable. Pressure needs to be placed on CKHA to revise their proposal to include the CCC beds. We need and deserve a complete Hospital in Wallaceburg. Instead of letting CKHA take more and more away, let's DEMAND that more services be returned to SDH. I am well aware the ESLHIN had this option planned for the last three years. I have heard this argument from Gary Switzer, ESLHIN CEO on numerous occasions. The CKHA option, with no CCC beds, is another erosion of our rights to a complete hospital. Why should Chatham get it all? What are we, the poor relatives of the Chatham Campus?

It seems that the Renovation option has 2 major obstacles: 1) CHKA has found a million reasons not to support it; 2)Ministry of Health& Long Term Care will not fund renovations at the same rate as they presently fund new constructions. The figures to renovate seem to have gone from 15 million to 35 million. Again, in my opinion that is an expensive old building.  Is that what we really want? So, what are our next steps? 1) Do we want a MASSIVE meeting like the one we had in March 2009 and what do you think we could accomplish? 2) Are you ready to start BOMBARDING (send emails, write letters, make phone calls) to the McGuinty government, Minister of Health & Long Term Care, CKHA, CKHA SDH Directors (there are 7 of them), ESLHIN to express your concerns and make your views known?

We can no longer be silent. SOS needs to hear from you.Log on the SOS website: to keep informed as to what is happening with SDH and health care in general.  

Send your comments, opinions and suggestions to: 

Conrad Noel

SOS Vice chairperson


Feb. 15.
Deep health care cuts suggested


By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News

Colin Patey knows change is inevitable.

"We welcome change - we know it's necessary,'' the president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance said Tuesday following the release of the Drummond Report. "But we want to minimize the impact on our patients and staff.''

However, he noted the report's recommendations are just that - recommendations.

He said it's now up to the government to decide what actions it will take on the documents many suggestions. "We anticipated that we would have to find savings through efficiencies and have already asked staff to come forward with ideas on how to do things better and more efficiently,'' he said. "We want open participation.

"Let's not have it done to us - let's do it together,'' he said. "Collaboration is the key word.''

However, the representative for Chatham-Kent Essex at Queen's Park said the cuts, if implemented, will be tough.

"It's a sad day in Ontario,'' said MPP Rick Nicholls. "The cuts being recommended are deep and will cause a great deal of pain.''

Nicholls said he agrees with the recommendation to freeze public sector wages, although he stopped short of endorsing a wage freeze for doctors.

"That's something we (the PC party) are looking into,'' he said.

Nicholls said Ontarians can look forward to huge increases in their hydro bills in the coming months and years.

"Every taxpayer in Ontario is going to have to pay the piper extra - thanks to Premier Dalton McGuinty,'' he said.

Nicholls said Local Health Integration Networks across Ontario are costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

"A Tim Hudak government would have done away with them,'' he said.

"We lost the election, it didn't happen and now the recommendation is to give LHINs additional funding and power.''

Nicholls said the Drummond report has exposed a severe Liberal spendi ng crisis requiring immediate action to start reversing the damage.

"The task now is to hold the government to account and champion the changes needed to kick-start a provincial recovery and avert Ontario's bankruptcy,'' he said.

The MPP said the government must return to the principle of spending only what it has and setting spending priorities on essential programs and services such as health and education.

"Ontario is running out of time to turn the ship around,'' he said. "And as we fight for a smarter government, we must also grow the private sector economy.''


Posted July 12 ,2012

The Chatham Kent Community Health Centres are under an urgent timeline to get the current government to release additional dollars to the Ministry of Health so that it can clear the backlog of CHC capital projects.  If the funds are not released by an important cabinet meeting on July 15th - it could mean that the permanent sites for the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres could be delayed by up to seven years.

 It is our hope that you will circulate or gather signatures on the attached petition and return it to the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centre, 30 McNaughton Ave., Wallaceburg by Wednesday July 13th.  You could also call the Health Centre and we could pick it up.  519 397 5455

 We are very proud of what the Community Health Centres offer to Chatham Kent, however, we know that our CHC's can provide so much more to our community if the promise is kept.

 Thank you for your assistance.

 Bonnie Burke

VP, Board of Directors

Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres

150 Richmond Street

Chatham, ON

N7M 1N9

Telephone 519 397 5455

Fax          519 397 5497


For Immediate ReleaseThursday,

June 23, 2011Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Launches New VisionChatham-Kent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 -- After a process of internal engagement, community input and discussion, the Tri-Board of Directors unveiled a new vision statement for Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA).

An Exceptional Community Hospital

Setting Standards – Exceeding Expectations

"We are really proud and excited about the new vision and what it will mean for CKHA’s future," said Mike Grant, Chair, Strategic Planning Committee. ""What resonated with the Committee is its clarity – quite simply, we want to be an exceptional community hospital. We think this statement will resonate with our staff, physicians, volunteers and community, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the organization lives this vision in future."

The vision statement was a key outcome of the Alliance’s strategic planning process. The 2011-2013 Strategic Plan and vision statement was approved by the Tri-Board and sets a course for the future. The Strategic Plan also builds on the strong foundation already in place by affirming the four strategic directions of patients, people, innovation and performance.

CKHA aims to provide exceptional care, to attract and retain exceptional talent, to develop exceptional ideas and to be a hospital with ongoing exceptional performance. The 2011-2013 plan identifies strategies and action plans that will help the Alliance achieve its goal of becoming an exceptional community hospital that sets standards and exceeds expectations.

"We are committed to demonstrating how we are living our strategic plan by sharing our exceptional stories and highlighting our performance and quality achievements regularly and for the duration of this plan," said Colin Patey, President & CEO. "We’re excited to be using dynamic communication tools – such as our Strategic Plan microsite and social media – to better communicate stories and successes worthy of an exceptional community hospital."

In the months and years ahead, staff, physicians and volunteers will be working towards the newly adopted strategic goals and directions to exemplify the new vision. CKHA will be tracking and reporting on the progress of the strategic plan on a regular basis.

In September, the Strategic Planning website will be formally launched and will feature stories of how CKHA is living the vision. The site will also act as an archive of CKHA`s exceptional stories of patients, people, innovation and performance.

Please visit our interactive website at and click on the Strategic Plan icon for more details or to provide feedback on CKHA’s 2011-2013 Strategic Plan.

Follow us on facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Media Spokesperson:

Colin Patey

President & CEO

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

(519) 437-6001

Photo available from Communications & Public Affairs.

Contact Mac Lai at 519.352.6401 x5119



Posted June 28,2011


For Immediate ReleaseThursday, June 23, 2011New Volunteers Join Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Boards of DirectorsCHATHAM-KENT, Thursday, June 23, 2011 -- At the June 23 Annual General Meetings of Sydenham District, Public General and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, volunteer Boards were appointed as follows.

Sydenham District Hospital

Allan Klinck, Gary Martin, Brian Slack, Randy Smith, Ron Tack (Vice-Chair), Paul Weese (Chair), and Wendy Weston.

St. Joseph’s Hospital

Carolynn Barko, Mark Isherwood (Vice-Chair), Fr. Michael Michon, Judith Pascoe, Gail Rumble, Jennifer Wilson, and Jon Wood (Chair).

Public General Hospital

Gail Baldwin, Mike Grant, Jane Havens, Jim Laforet, Aileen Murray, Brenda Richardson (Vice-Chair) and Wayne Schnabel (Chair).

The following individuals were appointed as Community Representatives to a Tri-Board Committee: George Duquette, Ron Fleming, Leah McArthur, Liz Meidlinger, Martin VanBommel and Judy VanderPol.

The following are members of the Tri-Board in an ex-officio capacity by virtue of their offices: Dr. Gary Tithecott, Chief of Medical Staff; Dr. Wally Pakulis, President of Medical Staff, Crystal Houze, Chief Nursing Executive, and Colin Patey, President and CEO.

The three hospital Boards function as a Tri-Board -- focusing on strategic planning, Mission, Vision and Values, quality and performance monitoring, financial and management oversight, risk identification and oversight, stakeholder communication and accountability, governance and legal compliance.

Board nominations are made through an open advertisement process by a Joint Nominating Committee and confirmed at the annual general meetings. For more information about the Boards of Directors, Tri-Board meeting dates, or to view "Board Highlights" published after each monthly meeting, go to CKHA’s website and click on "Directors".


Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is a partnership of Public General,
St. Joseph’s and Sydenham District Hospitals that brings together the strengths of each hospital to provide patients and families with compassionate, quality healthcare, close to home. Together, in the past year, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance served the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of over 10,600 in-patients and 64,000 Emergency Room patient visits. Its 1300 staff and 500 volunteers are ‘Caring People, Caring for People’ supporting the residents of Chatham-Kent, South Lambton and Walpole Island First Nations.


Media Contacts regarding Board Appointments:

Board Chairs

Paul Weese (519)683 - 4172    Wayne Schnabel (519)674-0222          Jon Wood (519)351-1447



Posted June 17,2011

Log on to:


Your chance to help define the key health care issues this election


Every election health care polls as one of Ontarians' top priorities. So every political party pays lip service to health care. They all say they will fund it and improve it. 


Unless we make it happen, the real issues in health care don't get much real debate.


For all of us who want to ensure that care is there, in our local communities, when we need it --  please help make your key issues in health care ones for which politicians have to make clear commitments leading into the provincial election in October.


More than 100 people have given their input over the last few days. This is a great start.

But to make this a truly democratic and effective process, we need to build this number to thousands of Ontarians participating.


It takes less than a minute.


Please go

Type in your key health care issues




This is the first phase of a three phase project.


Phase 1: Through the month of June, Ontarians are invited to visit and input their key health care issues/experiences (eg. cancelled surgery or can’t find family doctor).  The issues will show up on the site as people type them in.


Phase 2: Through July and August, we will invite Ontarians to vote for their priorities. The results will be tallied and their priorities will become an election pledge.


Phase 3: In late August/early September the Coalition will ask Ontarians to take the pledge to help make their priorities the key health care election issues. They will be able to see how many people in each electoral riding have taken the pledge. If thousands of Ontarians join in, we can make sure that the political parties are compelled to make clear commitments on these issues leading into the election.


“Health care consistently ranks as a top issue for Ontarians in elections,” noted Natalie Mehra, coalition director. “Every political party will promise to fund and support health care. But what about specific issues like waiting for a nursing home bed, or not enough homecare?  Lip service to health care is not enough. Ontarians need clear commitments on the key issues that matter in our communities.”


“Our challenge during the election is to identify the key issues that matter to the public and amplify those to the point that politicians have to make clear commitments to address them,” she concluded. “In the election we need clear commitments to safeguard local health care services and improve access to public health care.”




Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8


June 3
Hi everyone – please see attached letter and invitation to the upcoming AGM on June 23rd. Additional material will be coming to you in the next couple weeks. Please note that it’s important to confirm your attendance for the AGM so that we have adequate seating available. With the looming mail strike, it would b helpful if you share this information with other known SDH members who don’t have e-mail access, although the letter and notice will be put into the mail for them.

 Nick Brownlee (Mrs)

Senior Executive Assistant & Governance Co-Ordinator
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030
Chatham, ON N7M 5L9
Tel: 519-437-6001 Fax: 519-436-2522

Public General Hospital Society of Chatham
Sydenham District Hospital
St. Joseph's Health Services Association of Chatham, Inc.

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meetings of the three hospital corporations noted above, collectively operating as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance,
will be held on   Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the Riverbank
Outside the Chatham Campus Emergency Department
At 3:00 p.m.

For the purpose of -
1. receiving reports including the report of operations for the year ended March 31, 2011
2. the election of the Boards of Directors for 2011-2012
3. approval of by-law amendments
4. the appointment of auditors for 2011-2012
Only Members in good standing of the Corporations are eligible to vote at the Annual General Meetings. General public are welcome to attend as observers.
Kindly confirm your attendance at 437-6001 or by e-mail to no later than June 17th to enable appropriate seating arrangements and distribution of voting cards.

May 12

Due to circumstances beyond my control, our Save Our Sydenham website has been off line for the past month.  I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. I know that many loyal SOS supporters log on regularly to see what is happening to our hospital and to health care in general. 

I will do my best to keep everyone up to date.  If you want to contact us, just click on Contact us (above News Headlines).
Conrad Noel, SOS Vice Chairman
Posted May 5

NEWS RELEASE    Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 28, 2011

CKHA’s Oncology Kiosk Allows Patients to Self Report / Improve Communication
Closer to Home

CHAHTAM-KENT: The Oncology Department at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, with the support of Cancer Care Ontario and the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre has launched a new electronic patient assessment tool – ESAS using the “ISAAC (Interactive Symptom Assessment and Collection) computer software system”. 

The Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), the gold standard for symptom assessment is currently being utilized by regional cancer centres and now by Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. It is an evidence-based self reporting system that gives the patient the opportunity to electronically self report on their specific symptoms and needs prior to their personal appointment with the healthcare professional.

“The patients rate the intensity of symptoms in areas such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea, depression, anxiety and thinking.  The results are securely transferred, electronically, to the patient’s health record at the Windsor Regional Cancer Clinic and printed locally to trigger necessary conversations and actions.  Now, the information is immediately available to assist the doctors and nurses to verify patient problems and offer help before problems become worse,” said Nancy Snobelen, Program Director for Rehabilitation, Complex Continuing Care and Chronic Disease Management at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

The kiosk is located in a specific area within the Oncology Unit to provide privacy to patients when filling out the tool.

“The kiosk has a user friendly touch screen that I easily accessed with my health card and provided password. It asks 10 questions based on how you feel when you arrive. You can review your results same day and receive a print out that compares and shows your ongoing progress. It is such an easier and faster way to communicate with your doctors and nurses,” said Wayne Stoehr, Oncology patient at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. “As a Blenheim resident, I really like this system and the fact it’s closer to home.”

Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) provided the software, the kiosk set-up and will support ongoing training and technical support for the kiosk. The Pretty in Pink group have donated funds through the Foundation of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to provide residual funds for the Kiosk costs.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Oncology Unit is a Level 4 satellite outpatient referral centre aligned with the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre (WRCC) and the London Regional Cancer Centre (LRCP) serving over 200 Chemotherapy patients per month. The Unit provides timely, safe access to high quality systemic treatment to Chatham-Kent residents who wish to receive chemotherapy closer to home. 

For more information contact:

Nancy Snobelen. Program Director
Rehabilitation, Complex Continuing Care and Chronic Disease Management
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
(519) 352-6400 ext 6079

Posted March 27, 2011


Read this story. It could save your life or someone you love.


This has been passed on from an ER nurse and is the best description of this event that
she had ever heard. Please read, pay attention.



     I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read.
    Women and heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack ... you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

    I had a heart attack at about 10 :30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might've brought it on.

I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the oesophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.


After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR). 

    This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, 'Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!'

    I lowered the footrest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else ... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in moment.

   I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics .. I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

   I unlocked the door and then lay down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?'' but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents to hold open my right coronary artery.

   I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.


Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you to know what I learned first hand.


1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up ... which doesn't happen.

My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before.

It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!


2. Note that I said ''Call the Paramedics.'' And if you can, take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.


3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MI's are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there.

Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.


Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.




Thursday, March 24, 2011

National Doctors Day Pays Tribute to Our Physicians

CHATHAM-KENT, Thursday, March 24, 2011 -- Have you had the opportunity to say thank you to a physician that has impacted your life in a special way? On March 30, 2011 join Chatham-Kent Health Alliance as we celebrate National Doctor’s Day and shine the light on the physicians who work tirelessly every day to keep their patients and our community healthy.

Over 120 local doctors touch lives, show compassion and provide quality healthcare, dedicating their lives to improving the health and wellbeing of their patients. A simple phone call, small token or thank you card are just some of the kind gestures that patients, their families and healthcare providers can use to brighten this annual day of recognition for physicians.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Gary Tithecott, said, "Doctor’s Day gives our community an opportunity to offer our appreciation to the local physicians in Chatham-Kent. Their dedication, knowledge and respect for patients and their families who seek medical care in our hospital and community is something we value highly. "

The first Doctor's Day was observed on March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia. Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, made a decision to set aside a day to honour physicians. This first day of recognition included the mailing of greeting cards and placing flowers on graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower representing love, charity, sacrifice, bravery and courage.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Gary Tithecott, Chief of Staff

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

519-352-6401 ext. 6092


Posted March 23



Chatham-Kent Welcomes New Family Physician to Wallaceburg

CHATHAM-KENT, March 23, 2011 --The Chatham-Kent Family Health Team (CKFHT) and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) are delighted to announce the recruitment of a new family physician to the Wallaceburg community.

Dr. Will Saxena* is a family medicine physician, specializing in geriatric medicine with an emphasis on geriatric neurology, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. He completed a fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. He served his residency in family medicine at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He earned his medical degree at the Maulana Azad Medical College (University of Delhi) in New Delhi, India.

As of April 1st, 2011, Dr. Saxena will be joining Drs. Dennis Atoe, Emer Dudley and Robert Mayo at CKFHT’s satellite site, the Wallaceburg Community Medical Centre, 30 McNaughton Ave. He will have privileges at CKHA and will be providing Emergency Department care at both campuses.

The Family Health Team Board wishes to acknowledge the assistance of CKHA’s Medical Recruitment Office, the Chatham-Kent Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the personal and individual efforts of the Wallaceburg physicians and Rob Watson, Wallaceburg resident and Board Member of the CKFHT.

Dr. Saxena, who enjoyed site visits in Chatham and Wallaceburg in 2010, said, "The medical professionals and the recruitment team have been very open and welcoming and I look forward to working with my physician colleagues in both Chatham and Wallaceburg."

Dr. Saxena is accepting patients who do not currently have a family physician. Patients must register with Health Care Connect at (800)445-1822.

This is the first family physician to be recruited to Wallaceburg in approximately a decade. His recruitment was aided by proceeds to the Foundation of CKHA’s Every Life Counts campaign.

For interview opportunity contact:

Laura Johnson, Executive Director     Chatham-Kent Family Health Team      519-354-2172 ext 230

* Pronounced Sax- EE-nah


Posted March 23


CKHA CEO identifies with Wallaceburg's passion

WALLACEBURG - David Gough Courier Press

New Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO and president Colin Patey identifies with Wallaceburg's passion for its hospital.

Patey, who has been at the helm of the CKHA since July of 2010, grew up in a remote village in northwestern Newfoundland.

He said he sees the passion that Wallaceburg has in terms of community spirit and what they want to achieve, something he said he identifies with.

Patey was the guest speaker at the Wallaceburg Rotary dinner held last Thursday. He spoke about himself and his travels. He also talked about what brought him to Chatham-Kent and the challenges and issues the Alliance is facing and taking on.

"I am a passionate person myself," Patey said. "When I believe in something then I am prepared to advocate for it."

The way that health care is delivered is changing, not only in Wallaceburg, but in Ontario and Canada. Patey said delivering health care is full of challenges, such as the shortage of skilled doctors, nurses and other people who deliver health care services.

The youngest of 11 brothers and sisters, he was not only the first person in his family to go to post-secondary education, he was the first person in his village to move on to higher education.

Living in a small town, the residents of Patey's village had to go distances for health care. They also had to hang on to the health services that they had.

Patey said there is no doubt that a new health care facility is needed in Wallaceburg. He said experts in health care will help the CKHA to tell them what a new framework of health care will look like in Wallaceburg.

"There is a job to get people to buy in to a new future and the best future for the entire community."

Before he settled down in Chatham-Kent, Patey has worked around the world. Patey said he has been to 50 different countries across the globe. He has worked as a hospital professional in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Patey said he has enjoyed his first eight months on the job with the CKHA.

"I've enjoyed the challenge of introducing myself and getting to know the challenges of the job," Patey said.

CKHA is a high-performing organization, something Patey knew before he started the job.

"But, I also believe that I can make some changes. Do some tweaking to things that will help CKHA continue to be a high-performing organization and serve the needs of this community," Patey said.

Having to fill a couple of senior staff vacancies by hire two new vice-presidents, was among Patey's challenges in his first few months.

"I believe I have very competent people who have roots in the community and I believe our new team will be here for some time to come."



Posted March 22


Sydenham District Hospital Membership


To all:


If you haven't done so yet, please make sure to renew your Sydenham District Hospital Membership.


These are due March 31st. If you miss the 31st, you will not have a vote at the 2011 Annual Meeting.


A membership form is availabel by contacting Sheldon or you may also get one at Town Hall.


Completed Membership forms can be dropped off at my house 91 Highbury Cres or at Cathy Patterson house at 67 Baxter or left at Town Hall.


Please make your membership fee of $10 per person payable by cheque payable to SDH Corporation to create a paper trail.






Posted March 5

“Save Our Sydenham” Submission   Regarding the Rural and Northern Health Care 
  Framework/Plan Stage One Report    Ministry of Health and Long Term Care 
February 27, 2011 

The “Save Our Sydenham” Committee is a local community action committee, whose mandate is to ensure that the Sydenham campus of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance continues to function and serve Wallaceburg and its’ rural catchment area, as a full serve hospital, i.e. as a hospital with a full service Emergency department, in-patient beds continuing care beds, and support services of Laboratory and Diagnostic imaging capabilities. The committee has been in existence for approximately 3 years, and has been fully involved with LHIN and provincial government plans for changing health care in our area.

It is recognized that the panel did extensive research about accessibility to health care, and used numerous sources to create their report. It was decided that public consultations were to take place after the report was created. Several members of our committee and numerous members of the Wallaceburg area were able to attend the mid-day meeting in Petrolia, ON, on February 18, 2011. At that meeting, the audience was asked to respond to 6 questions, which were based on different parts of the Panel’s report.

This submission holds the committee’s thoughts and concerns about the Stage One report from the Rural and Northern Health Care Panel.

There are several items within the report that we agree, are priorities:

· The creation of a framework, directions and guidelines to guide health care planning for rural and northern Ontario.
· The recognition that rural residents, health providers and other stakeholders must be active participants in health care planning for their communities.
· The inclusion of transportation, ambulance and patient transfers in the recommendations.
· The recommendation to create one point of accountability within the Ministry of Health focused on the needs of rural and northern Ontarians.

However, even these statements need to be more specific, and they should be aimed at protecting all those that live in rural, northern and remote areas of our province.

There is little mention of the role of small rural hospitals in the Panel’s report. We believe that access to health care begins and ends with the small community hospitals.

There are numerous statements within the report that the SOS committee hold concerns about:
· There is a heavy emphasis on “access to health care” and little mention of the use of small community hospitals.
· The definition of “rural” seems to be at odds with others’ definitions; P. Hoy, MPP, assured the SOS committee that the Sydenham campus in Wallaceburg was a rural hospital, some time ago.
· What is a “local hub”?
· Can we count on a community being defined in the traditional way, or will the government re-define “communities” according to health care services?
·  Distance to care, and amount of time to care are unclear: does this include accessibility to small community hospitals for stabilization, or does it mean access to in larger centres? Does it mean time to an Emergency room in a larger centre where a client will sit and wait or does it mean access to the beginning of the health care treatment, by a nurse of doctor?
· Distance to care for other needed health care services, e.g. continuing care, rehabilitation services, home care are not addressed. Accessibility to health care does not always mean acute hospital care.
· The recommendation to establish referral centres, the “Health Care System Collaboration” is also unclear, Will there be one or will each region /LHIN have one? Who will run this collaboration? Will it be privatized?
· Will dollars meant for front-line health care in Ontario be taken to fund these new programs? How much input will private companies have in the creation and running of these new programs?
· The report has stated in several places that public engagement is to be used. What kind of public engagement? Will the public have a meaningful voice in their regional health care? Will the “engagement” be transparent and democratic? Will meetings be held, after the fact, to notify the public and hear its’ concerns? If that is the case it is not good enough.
· There is no explanation of what Standards are to be used for health care and its’ outcomes. LHIN executives and personnel do not have the expertise to state what health care outcomes should be. Professional organizations should be engaged to ensure that health care standards pertaining to all aspects of health care are maintained.
· In some areas health care standards are not mentioned at all. Why did the Panel or the government not take this opportunity to create standards of care for long-tern care, and nursing homes?
· Where is the public accountability in the Panel’s report? The LHIN is ultimately not responsible ad they report to the MOHLTC, and the Premiere. Who will stand up and say to Ontario’s residents, “I am responsible for this new Health Care Plan”?

We are concerned and confused, that there is no mention of the Canada Health Act in the report. “A health care system that provides appropriate access and achieves equitable outcomes for rural, remote and northern Ontarians” is the vision of the Panel, where is the use of the word public?

 The Guiding Principles stated in the report, are not reflective of the Canada Health Act. Public Health Care in Canada is meant to provide equity and compassion for all, by removing financial obstacles to health care and has ensured equality and improved quality of life for countless Canadians. When the committee describes the 9 guiding principles it created, there is no mention of the word “public”. I believe these principles should be re-worked to clarify that the health care in Ontario is still a public program, and not in any way to be given to private companies to consult upon, plan or achieve.

The Stage One report has made many broad far-reaching recommendations. Premier McGuinty has stated over and over that Ontario’s health care must be sustainable.  Sustainability can be translated as centralizations of services in larger centres. The government’s new funding model, i.e. “funding for service” will help bring about this centralization.  The problem remains that our health care system is already overburdened.

Hospitals in communities of over 30,000 people have longer wait times for Emergency care; they have chronic bed shortages and human health resources problems.

This is where the small community hospital is a vital  resource of the health care system. These small rural hospitals have the ability and have been trained to stabilize and transport patients to they pace they need t to go, whether that is to a larger hospital or to a tertiary care facility.  Small hospitals can admit appropriate patients to in-patient beds or they can accept recovering patients from larger centres to free up much needed beds. They can provide rehabilitative services, and physio therapy services.

Continued use of small community hospitals can only help make the Ontario health care system run in a more efficient manner. Patients and their families can remain in a local atmosphere, meaning they feel more comfortable and are apt to recover quicker. Research has been done to prove this very fact.

Continued use of local physiotherapy, and laboratory services along with accessible home care will also ensure clients will have their diagnostics completed as well as home care procedures and requirements.  Many people who do have the financial or personal resources necessary will not travel travel, for health therapies and diagnostics.

In closing, we urge the Panel and the MOHLTC to revise the Stage One report. Small community hospitals are a vital part of Ontario’s health care.  The communities who have hospitals want their hospitals to remain as part of the health care available to them. Communities with less then 30,000 residents will be able to attract new businesses and new residents if there is a local hospital. This means more tax dollars for Queen’s park, and a better future for all Ontarians.

Respectfully submitted,

J. Wesley, Chair, SOS committee

S. Roebuck, member SOS committee.

For Immediate Release  by CKHA
Friday, March 04, 2011

CKHA Announces Temporary Disruption in
Wallaceburg Emergency Department Due to Renovation

Wallaceburg -- Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is upgrading the triage area and central nursing station in the Emergency Department at its Sydenham campus in Wallaceburg.  

Emergency Department patients in Wallaceburg are notified that from Wednesday, March 9th to Monday, March 14th there will be renovation in the emergency department which will temporarily disrupt normal patient flow.  Temporary signs and emergency department staff will direct patients appropriately. 24/7 emergency department care continues as usual during the upgrade.

According to Clinical Manager, Dorothy Letarte, “This enhancement will upgrade the triage area and the main nursing station with a new, modern look and functionality.   The entire team is pleased to see the revitalization of the Emergency Department.”  She added that the nursing station cost is $33,000 and supported by the Foundation of CKHA.

Media Contact:
Dorothy Letarte
Clinical Manager, ED Services
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
Telephone 519-352-6400  ext 6350
Conrad's Editorial Comments

This upgrading is long overdue and I am surprised of the low cost for the renovations.  I am more surprised (if that expression is possible) that the CKHA did not cover the renovations in their regular budget.  Hopefully, the CKHA Directors can explain this to the residents serviced by Sydenham Campus as to why it has taken so long to approve the renovations and why does the Foundation have to pay for it.  Can anyone provide an answer?

Posted on Feb. 21, 2011

Rural and Northern Health Care Report, Stage One Submission

Respectfully submitted to: The Rural and Northern Health Care Committee

From: Shirley Roebuck

Port Lambton, ON

As an Ontario resident, a provider of health care, a recipient of health care, a daughter, whose father receives health care, a community member, I would like to thank the committee for its hard, diligent work, on behalf of our provincial government, and therefore, on behalf of every Ontarian.

The committee states that "access to health care in rural, northern and remote areas has long been an issue’. Many factors do influence the availability of health care as the committee states, and I would add the finances of government coffers to that list. The committee notes that government planning for rural and northern health care started in the 1990’s, first with the NDP government, then with the Progressive Conservative government, and then with the Liberal government. I would ask that the committee take note that the framework for equal access is in place, first with the Canada Health Act, and then, with the continued existence of small community hospitals, and the good work they provide.

The committee defines its’ vision as "A health care system that provides appropriate access and achieves equitable outcomes for rural, remote and northern Ontarians"

This statement is satisfactory, but I would have hoped for more definitive ties to the Canada Health Act.

Similarly, the Guiding Principles are not reflective of the Canada Health Act. Public Health Care in Canada arose to ensure equity and compassion for all, by removing financial obstacles to health care. This is still the most popular public program that exists in Canada today; Public Health Care has ensured equality and improved quality of life for endless people across Canada. When the committee describes the 9 guiding principles it created, there is no mention of the word "public". I believe these principles should be re-worked to clarify that the health care in Ontario is still a public program, and not in any way to be given to private companies to achieve.

The work that went into the committee’s "Planning Strategies and Decision Guides" is obvious. I believe that more clarity is required to define what a community is and what a local hub is. I have several concerns:

Will there only be one community and/or local hub for each area, or will there be different communities/local hubs for different services?

Is the definition of time to travel defined by the location of the small rural hospital, or its’ catchment area?

Will small rural Emergency rooms, which serve a large catchment area, be left in place, in order to achieve the 30 minute to Primary care and/or Emergency care?

The 4 hour time frame to receive tertiary care is very uncertain, given the larger geographical areas covered by small community hospitals now, let alone the longer travel time to larger community centres of over 30,000 residents. The closure of small rural hospitals which provide stabilization and transport services would indeed create inequity of access and poorer patient outcomes.

The committee has been specific about principle about governance and accountability. I am glad that they have been so specific. I hope however, that the government does not use any health care dollars, designated for front line health care, to create a new department to manage these principles.

The committee’s Health Care System Collaboration statements sound very attractive; there are many hours wasted trying to obtain services, provided locally or not. Once again, I do have concerns:

What is a local hub?

What will community engagement look like? Will the public be asked for opinions only after decisions have been made?

How many hubs/ sub-LHIN groups will be necessary for different services?

What will be cost of tele-health centres, and where will the funding come from? Will small hospitals be eliminated in order to achieve tele- health services at larger centres?

How will all of this be accomplished? There are so many localized, regional services established. Will the creation of an integrated, provincial service, or LHIN based service cost monies which were previously meant for front-line health care services?

Will the referral services be kept public, or will this plan be given to private companies?

How will quality be measured? How will be measured and maintained if private organizations are involved?

The committee’s recommendations regarding Local Community Engagement and Planning, and specifically "R9.1. Improve the assessment of community health care access needs at the local level" appears patient friendly.

I would ask that the committee take note that small community hospitals provide a necessary and vital service to their community and catchment areas residents.

This is the "catch 22" in the government’s plans for health care. As an example, I wish to talk about my local hospital, the Sydenham campus of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance. The Sydenham campus is a small community hospital in Wallaceburg Ontario, some 25 minutes away from the larger Chatham campus. Its catchment area extends into northern Kent County and southern Lambton County, in St. Clair Township. I live in southern Lambton County and drive 50 minutes each day to work in Chatham. The Sydenham campus also services a First Nations Reserve, Walpole Island. This reserve is certainly more than 30 minutes from Chatham. Time from a resident’s home or the location of an accident, is more likely than not to be more than 30 minutes from Chatham; the "Golden Hour" which many physicians report to be the first hour after a trauma or onset of illness will be lost, if there is no Sydenham campus to rely upon. The Chatham Kent Health Alliance with the LHIN’s approval made a decision to close all the in-patient beds at Sydenham campus, except 5; this has resulted in numerous and frequent transports to the Chatham campus or other hospitals when Chatham has no beds.

Closing the Wallaceburg ER would mean that residents living outside of Wallaceburg will not have equal access to timely care, and will be at risk for higher mortality rates and poorer prognoses; few if any in-patient beds has already resulted in patients being transported to hospital beds outside their home town. These patients’ families often do not drive, cannot find a way to another centre, and the patient is left alone.

I believe that the committee and the provincial government must define what a small community hospital is.

In my view, a small community hospital will provide 24/7 Emergency care, to allow all residents of that area the opportunity to receive appropriate health care in a timely manner. Rural Emergency rooms provide stabilization and resuscitation services to those residents who incur a critical injury or illness. The small ER’s give patients the opportunity to reach specialized or tertiary services, and improve their chance at survival, in a timely manner.

The small community hospital should also have in-patient beds to facilitate appropriate admissions and to allow those patients returning from larger centers, to recover near their families and home. Research has been done which show increased recovery rates and better outcomes when patients can recover close to home, with the support of their family and friends. This would also allow the freeing up of much needed in- patient beds in larger centre. Basic diagnostic services, ie laboratory and imaging services should be on campus, to assist the health care providers in small centres to do their jobs


In reality, larger centres are ill equipped to take on more workload. The average wait in the Chatham Emergency room is 6 -8-12 hours. This wait is due in part to patient numbers, patient acuity and bed shortages. How is the public (and the rural public) being served by longer wait times, overworked staff, and bed shortages?

In short, I would ask that the committee take note that small community hospitals provide a necessary and vital service to their community and catchment areas. They provide stabilization and resuscitation services to those residents who incur a critical injury or illness. The small ER’s give patients an equal opportunity to reach specialized or tertiary services, and improve their chance at survival, which is what this committee has stated, is desirable.

I am pleased to see that the Committee has realized that Non-Urgent Transportation for health care purposes is a large problem, creating on-going and chronic issues with patient safety, ambulance off loading and staffing levels.

In conclusion I believe that access to health care is imperative to all residents of Ontario, and Canada. The Canada Health Act must remain intact, and its’ principles must continue to drive provincial governments’ actions to provide health care for all.

Thank you for your attention.

Shirley Roebuck


Posted Feb. 14
Chatham Kent Health Alliance
News Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Improves Access to Primary Healthcare

Chatham-Kent -- Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is improving access to primary healthcare through the ongoing operation and expansion of a Nurse Practitioner (NP) Clinic located at its Sydenham campus in Wallaceburg.

The Nurse Practitioner Clinic is staffed Monday through Friday by three NPs (1 full-time and 2 part-time), namely Lori Dalton, Delynne Teetzel and Corinne Pollard. The work at the NP Clinic is also supported by a full-time clerical person who organizes appointments and assists with communication with patients and staff. 

Located on the 2nd floor, the NP Clinic started at Sydenham campus in 2009 when the NPs recognized a high need for those with newly diagnosed blood pressure problems.  At that time, the initial patient intake also focused on improving access to care for CKHA staff and their families without a family doctor or family nurse practitioner.

Registered patients are seen weekdays by appointment. Registered patients with more urgent needs can request a same day appointment. Eighty such same-day appointment requests were accommodated last month. This means that 80 patients were able to see their own or one of the other Clinic NPs in January, rather than having to turn to the Emergency Department for care, thereby reducing ED wait time and improving patient satisfaction.

Since the NP Clinic opening in 2009, over 1100 patients who have no primary healthcare provider have registered for ongoing care. There were over 3100 visits to Wallaceburg’s NP Clinic last year, and it is now poised for expansion. The next phase of intake is about to begin.

According to Willi Kirenko, Nurse Practitioner Coordinator, “With our aging population, many more seniors require frequent visits for ongoing care of sometimes more complex health conditions. Plans are underway to analyze a list of seniors who have visited the Emergency Department more than once in the past year. A list of those seniors who are currently without a primary healthcare provider will be contacted and offered the opportunity to register with the NP Clinic. We anticipate that approximately 300 more patients could be added to the NP Clinic through this process.”  

She states that only patients without a family doctor or family nurse practitioner are eligible to register. The NPs provide a full range of health services from pre-natal and well baby care, to regular health assessments for children and adults, as well as support for patients with a variety of chronic health problems including diabetes, emphysema and heart problems.  Registered patients benefit from the support of Diabetes Education, Mental Health professionals and Dietitians, to name a few.  Two local physicians, Dr Robert Mayo and Dr. Pierre Letarte provide collaboration services. Relationships have also been formed with many community partners including local pharmacies, private laboratories, and the Community Care Access Centre.

Crystal Houze, Vice-President/Chief Nursing Executive adds, ”The operation and expansion of the NP Clinic in Wallaceburg is a clear sign that CKHA values this service in our community. CKHA’s Nurse Practitioners and the patient support team are truly ’caring people, caring for people’. 

Media Contact
Willi Kirenko
Nurse Practitioner Coordinator
(519) 352-6401 Ext. 6049

Posted Feb. 11

Chatham-Kent CHC,s are expanding services across Wallaceburg and Walpole.  We are very pleased to have recently attracted both a dietician and addictions worker.

These new staff members will join the 6 nurse practitioners and 4 physicians,along with numerous other health professionals such as social workers, occupational therapists, health promoters and nurses.  The CHC's received approval from the LHIN today to expand and create a larger satellite on Walpole Island. We continue to accept clients into the community health centres expanding access to care.  Applications are available both on-line and can be picked up at the centres as well.  Please visit our website at to learn more about the programs and services offered through the centres. Please contact us if your agency or service group are interested in learning more.  These Centres belong to the community.

On another note we are very proud to share that the CKCHC's in partnership with Walpole Island residents have been selected to present at an International Conference in Toronto this year.  The presentation has a focus of cultural sensitivity.

We are now beginning to offer many programs and will be relying on volunteers to assist in the delivery of such.

Kristen Williams
Executive Director
Chatham Kent Community Health Centres
150 Richmond St., Chatham, ON N7M 1N9

Tel 519.397.5455
Fax 519.397.5497
Cell 519.437.8560

"The best possible health for those we serve"

Feb. 9

From:  Shirley, SOS member

The link below will show you that the government has re-scheduled the consultation meeting regarding the Rural and Northern Health Care Report.

Please try to attend, so you can voice you concerns about our local healthcare. There is a link to register on-line, but I am told that no one will be turned away.
There is also a link to the report's Executive summary, which contains the guidelines and principles that the committee has adopted, as the priorities for rural and northern healthcare.  Wallaceburg would not be deemed rural under this document, and we must tell the committee we want local healthcare, Emergency services and our hospital.

Thanks, Shirley

Petrolia meeting date: Friday, Feb. 18th from 1:00 - 3:30 @ Oil Heritage District Community Centre (gymnasium), 360 Tank Street, Petrolia.  Please register, using link above, by Feb. 16th.

Format:  Group discussions on a specific set of questions. Tables of 8-10 people who will be provided a short outline on the panel's report. Specific groups will report to the assembly.


Neala Barton, Minister’s Office, 416-327-4388

Andrew Morrison, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 416-314-6197


Posted Jan. 30            A reminder that the Rural and Northern Health Care Committee will  hold a public hearing in Petrolia on Wednesday, Feb. 2 from 1:00-3:30 at Lambton Central Collegiate & Vocational Institute,   Gymnasium     4141 Dufferin Avenue   BUT we all need to put pressure on Maria Van Bommel and Pat Hoy in order to have a hearing in Wallaceburg. 

SOS encourages you to attend the Petrolia meeting and to email Maria and Pat stating our upset that Wallaceburg has not been selected. One public hearing in each LHIN is not acceptable. What are they afraid of?

Maria's email:            (Constituency Office) ;
                                    (Queen's Park)

Pat Hoy's email:         (Constituency Office) ; 
                                     (Queen's Park)

Conrad Noel, Vice chair SOS

Posted Jan. 21  

Please forward this information widely.
To: OHC Members and Contacts
From: Natalie Mehra, Director, Ontario Health Coalition
Please note that the government has scheduled the first 5 of 14 public hearings on its rural and northern health care report. The first public hearing is on Monday. This is the report that comes out of the panel. It is the one we have been awaiting for a year. Now that they have released the report, they are moving very very fast. There is very little notice for the hearings they are holding. Nonetheless, in my conversations with the Minister's office, the hearings sound legitimate, though the lack of notice is disturbing. I have pasted the dates and times below. In addition, I have pasted a very quick summary of the report below. I will be sending out something more thorough soon.
We are strongly encouraging widespread participation. Please raise with the government the same issues you raised with our panel that traveled across Ontario last spring, and any new issues you have.
 For the government's report etc. please go to:
Register by (Jan. 31)

Petrolia     2-Feb-11     1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.     Lambton Central Collegiate & Vocational Institute,   Gymnasium     4141 Dufferin Avenue    
You can register  by calling 1-800-503-8654  or  online:
Posted Jan. 21

Just how 'open' is this open mic night?



Well, at least it's a step in the right direction, but talk about baby steps.

The Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network has decided to give the public a chance to speak up at future LHIN board meetings and will move the open portion of its meetings to 5:30 p.m. to better accommodate the public. That shift in timing is a good move that will make it easier for the working public to attend.

Granting the floor to the public is also a good decision. Call it an open mic night, of sorts.

The problem is it's not that open. There will be a limit of three members of the public accessing the microphone per meeting, with five minutes granted per speaker. Anyone who wishes to speak must be on hand to register 45 minutes before the meeting is slated to begin.

So if you want to be heard, be early and hope not many others want to speak to health-care issues affecting Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton. After all, considering we are one of the most underserviced areas in the province in terms of physicians, still have the possible closure of rural emergency rooms looming, have an aging obese population and a host of other health and health-care related issues, why would anyone want to address the body that determines how health-care dollars are doled out in our region?

If you want to do more than just spend five minutes in front of the microphone, you can apply to make a presentation to the LHIN during its education portion of the meeting. But you'll have to register online and hope a LHIN staffer likes what you have to say, as topics and presenters are chosen monthly by a LHIN employee.

All in all, the effort is positive, but the limitations and selectivity make it too controlled. It may appear to be an open microphone, but to some, that mic may ultimately be way beyond their grasp.

Article ID# 2939520


Jan. 18

Have your say at LHIN meetings

 By Daily News Staff

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network is giving residents a voice at its board meetings.

A new format will be introduced at the LHIN's board meeting Tuesday in Chatham where community members will have access to an open mic.

Residents can also apply to make a presentation during the open education session of future board meetings.

According to an ESC LHIN press release, public and and health care stakeholders who want to talk at the open mic will have five minutes to speak on a topic, raise an issue or ask questions of the board.

This will be followed by five minutes of discussion or questions from LHIN board members.

Board meetings will be limited to three open mic presenters, who must register in person 45 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

An online application form is available at for those interested in applying to make a presentation at the LHIN board's open education session. Education topics and presenters will be chosen monthly by a LHIN staff/board committee.

In order to give working residents more opportunity to participate in meetings, the LHIN is moving the start time of the open portion of its meetings to 5:30 p.m. The meetings are held at the Erie St. Clair LHIN office at 180 Riverview Dr. in Chatham.

"As a board we recognized that we needed to hear more from the community and local health-service stakeholders at our open board meetings," said Mina Grossman-Ianni, chair of the ESC LHIN board directors, in a written release.

"It's important to us that we are connected with the community and hearing their insights, their concerns or other thoughts they wish to share," she added.

Grossman-Ianni said she is looking forward to seeing "new faces" at the upcoming board meeting.

Article ID# 2935031


 Editorial Comments:

We're always happy when there is more openness and opportunities to express points of view to the board.  Also like that time of meeting have been changed.  More people can now attend without having to taking time off of work.


Jan. 15

Sydenham campus renovations continue

By Daily News Staff

WALLACEBURG — Renovations to Sydenham Campus of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance continue.

The final stage of the five-year roofing project was completed in the fall and a new replacement boiler is being installed this month.

The cost for the boiler is estimated at $146,000, hospital officials said.

The work is part of the CKHA's !magine Program, which sees the organization making investments to preserve the aging facility.

"Our !magine committee continues its planning towards new and improved facilities in Wallaceburg and in Chatham," said Colin Patey, CKHA's president and CEO, in a news release. "In the meantime, infrastructure improvements such as these translate to improved efficiency, and patient and staff comfort, safety and satisfaction. By undertaking general structural improvements and creating a more efficient workspace for staff, Sydenham campus can respond to the current healthcare needs of the community."

Officials said upgrades to the electrical control panels inside the elevator cabs is completed, and the interiors of both elevator cabs have been refurbished with new lighting, flooring, ceilings and walls at a cost of $52,000. A request for proposal has been issued for further upgrading of the elevators.

Hospital administration has endorsed $500,000 towards a complete electrical upgrade and preliminary discussions have started.

Officials said work on the waste water system will begin in spring 2011 at a cost of approximately $100,000.

A new nurse's station will soon be put into the emergency department at a cost of $33,000 for which the Foundation of CKHA provided $31,100.

CKHA's energy savings partnership with Honeywell continues and $600,000 is being invested at the Sydenham campus to reduce energy consumption and maximize energy savings.

Article ID# 2931786


Conrad's Editorial Comments:

What a difference our new CEO, Colin Patey has made towards Sydenham Hospital. Everyone appreciates Colin's efforts to preserve our local hospital.


Posted Jan. 15

Liberals scramble to fix their mess 



Think of it as the Humpty Dumpty report. First the government takes an axe to rural hospitals.

Then it attempts to put them back together with a report one critic described as "gobbledegook."

Nickel Belt New Democrat France Gelinas says it's impossible to make sense of it.

"It's high level gobbledegook that makes no sense," she said.

Instead of looking at how to provide access to services in rural and remote parts of the province, she said it simply provides a strategic plan.

The folks she represents are realistic about health-care delivery.

"People who live in remote and rural Ontario, we don't want equal access," Gelinas said.

"We know there will never be a hospital in Foleyet, Gogama or Westree.

"We want equitable access. We want the same thing everyone else gets. We want it through a model that makes sense in rural and remote Ontario," she said.

Gelinas says northern and rural patients simply want to know they'll have an access point in their community.

Attracting and keeping doctors is always a problem, she said. It's unwise to make access to health care dependent on physicians.

"Put a model in place that is not dependent on changing physicians. The family health team model makes no sense because it is physician driven, so when the physician leaves, so does the service."

Community health centres and nursing stations work better in rural communities, she said.

Gelinas said the consultations aren't being held in enough communities.

They are set for New Liskeard, Burford, Hanover, Drayton, Shelburne, Petrolia, Renfrew, Picton, Haliburton, Orillia and Dryden.

While residents can also make submissions online, there are no town hall meetings set for the Niagara Peninsula, which has seen its health services gutted.

Guelph MPP Liz Sandals will lead the consultations for the government with Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Rick Johnson.

She said she doesn't want to talk about governance issues, she wants to talk about human resources.

She admits the report is vague.

"It is fair to say that the recommendations aren't extremely explicit," so she wants to talk about human resources.

"We know that there isn't going to be a heart surgeon in every rural community, but if you need a heart surgeon, how do you get connected to one if you live in a rural community?" she said. If you have to meet with a heart surgeon out of town and you're a 75-year-old widow, how do you get there, she asks?

The government gutted rural health services, and now it's trying to fix the crisis they created, says Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

"There hasn't been any planning for rural people and access to health care and now the government is trying to figure out how to fix it.

"They're stuck because all their health care planning is directed towards centralizing services," she said.

While she said some of the proposals are good, she calls the recommendation that Ontarians be within one hour of in-patient hospital services "dangerous," and it would result in a significant number of hospital closures in southwestern and central parts of the province.

The best plan? Get out to the meetings or make your views known online.

If the government doesn't listen in an election year, then all the king's horses won't save them at the ballot box.

Article ID# 2931332


Jan. 14

Northern and Rural Panel has no consultation meeting planned for Wallaceburg.

Why do we always have to fight for what should be apparent to all?

The experience of Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) supporters has been that whenever the government or the LHIN has promised us consultation it has always been one sided and ineffective (ex: the clicker event). This time around is no different.

1. We had asked the government to hold consultation meetings PRIOR to writing the Rural and Northern Health Care Report - they chose instead to write the report first and ask for comments after.

2. After all that SDH and the local communities have been through the government did not even have the respect or concern for our community to hold a consultation meeting in Wallaceburg. What are they afraid of - honest straight forward input?

3. I went to the web site to register for a session...any session close by...and the dates and location locally are not even up. The ones that are have a very short response time - so how will we know when the other dates and locations are put up? Luck?

I challenge both local MPPs - Maria Van Bommel and Pat Hoy to have a consultation meeting in Wallaceburg. We have earned the right to have our say. If not then tell us why not.


Jeff Wesley



Conrad's Editorial Comments:  We need to take action and demand a consultation meeting in Wallaceburg.  We deserve the right to have our say.  If you are interested in joining the SOS Bombardment Team , email me and I will send you the details. 
Email: or

Posted Jan. 11

Minister ‘absolutely committed’ to Petrolia ER


Arlene Patterson says she's not convinced Ontario has CEE Hospital in Petrolia's best interests at heart.

She and a contingent from the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition staged a small demonstration outside the Rapids Family Health Team office in Sarnia on Monday during a visit by Deb Matthews, Ontario's Health and Long Term Care Minister.

Holding a sign that read, "Commit to keeping C.E.E. emerge open," Patterson spoke to Matthews for about five minutes and asked her to publicly commit to keeping Petrolia's emergency department open 24/7.

The ER is currently surviving month to month, with local and provincial doctors helping alleviate a chronic doctor shortage.

"We've been working really closely with Petrolia through HealthForceOntario, which brings in emergency physicians when they are needed, when there isn't a local supply," Matthews said.

"But we are absolutely committed to keeping it open. How exactly we're doing that is something we're working on right now."

Patterson wasn't satisfied with the response.

"We've heard this before, that everything is under study, it's under review, it's in progress, it's this and that," she said.

"That's why we came today seeking an answer to our question, is she prepared to make a commitment? I didn't hear that from her today."

Matthews met with a reference panel established by the Erie-St. Clair LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) to study the issue and come up with solutions, and said she was impressed.

"We know that is a very important hospital and having 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency care there is very important to the people of the community," she said.

Patterson was still skeptical.

"We know that this government is wanting to downsize small and rural hospitals," she said. "They've done it and they will continue to do it."

Article ID# 2923167


Conrad's Editorial Comments:

I totally agree with Arlene Patterson. Let's honestly ask ourselves "What firm commitment did the Minster make?" ??????NONE

To our Save Our Sydenham website readers:

This is an election year and we need to hear firm commitments and firm alternatives from ALL political parties. Downsizing has been the mandate of the Liberal party with the LHIN's as their hatchers.  We will hear a lot of promises which of course will probably never see light. I hope that I am wrong.


 Treat ailing elderly as patients not ‘bed blockers’

Published On Fri, 07 Jan 2011  Toronto Star

Michael Hurley , President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions 

Four years ago, my mom — blind, sick from heart disease, but fiercely independent — fell in her apartment. My sister  found her unconscious two days later.  She spent three weeks in hospital. Her final days of life were spent as a "bed blocker." This came with a spate of indignities. Fluids weren’t pushed, vital signs weren’t taken. Blood work wasn’t done. She wasn’t toileted and became incontinent — a complete humiliation for her.  She deteriorated rapidly, but there was a steady push on our family to send her home or to a nursing home. Even though my sister — a nurse — advocated daily on her behalf, she was neglected in our health-care system.  When she slipped out of lucidity and out of consciousness, tests were done and we were called to see a cardiac surgeon. He told us that my mother had had two undiagnosed heart attacks while in hospital and now was too weak for surgery. He was very kind and apologetic. She was dead within 36 hours.

Like my mother, many elderly patients are acutely ill. But the general assumption is that they are wasting precious health-care resources. Since these patients are often long-lived, and since few families complain in the fog of their grief, the active discrimination against this age cohort passes unnoticed.  Ontario’s hospitals are operating over their capacity. Nineteen thousand beds have been closed over the last 15 years. In Sudbury, patients sleep in broom closets. Ours is the most efficient hospital system in Canada — operating with $260 fewer dollars per citizen, with the shortest lengths of stay and the fewest beds and staff per capita of any province.

Successive governments in Ontario haven’t had the courage to take on the doctors or the drug companies or the private care corporations, which are driving up health-care spending. So most of the efficiencies have been made in the already efficient hospital sector, where a permanent revolution has been in effect for 20 years, with ongoing restructuring, downsizing and privatization. Now, war has been declared on the "bed blockers" so that another 5,000 beds can be closed.

But the real problem is that too many hospital beds have been closed. There aren’t enough beds for all of the acutely ill people who need them.

At 90 years old, with congestive heart failure, diabetes and arteriosclerosis, Alice MacPherson was given two months to live by her doctors. She needed palliative care so that she could die as peacefully as modern medicine will allow. A Windsor hospital threatened to bill her $600 a day — they needed her bed and they wanted her out. There is no compassion and there is no empathy.  The fact that MacPherson was dying didn’t matter to the hospital or appear to matter to the Ministry of Health. What mattered was getting her out of hospital and into a nursing home or retirement home where, guaranteed, there is less care than needed in her last days.  MacPherson belonged in hospital. So did my mother.

For those patients who are pushed out, they are sent home where home care is increasingly difficult to get and where caregivers turn over at the rate of 57 per cent a year. The government’s "Aging at Home" strategy might as well be the "Aging Alone" strategy.   In a cruel twist, hospital patients are now being sent to retirement homes. The Toronto Star did a great service with its investigation into the deaths of two residents at a retirement home in Toronto. Retirement homes are not regulated and they are run for profit.  A meta-analysis of death rates in public and for-profit hospitals and dialysis clinics by Drs. P.J. Devereaux and Gordon Guyatt, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found higher death rates in for-profit facilities because the owners skimped on regulated staff and/or on supplies like blood-cleaning products.  Danny Henderson, unable to feed himself, should never have been sent to a facility as understaffed as the retirement home he was discharged to. This "bed blocker" died of severe malnutrition, according to the coroner who did his autopsy.  The retirement home that Henderson was discharged to had no toilet paper.  Residents used their hands to wipe themselves and shared a communal towel. The posted menus bore no resemblance to the meals served. 

And yet the Ministry of Health continues to force the discharge of hospital patients to retirement homes and pretends that this case is an anomaly.

Two years before Mr. Henderson’s death, another "bed blocker," discharged from an Ottawa hospital to a retirement home, was found frozen to death in a field near the facility. No one noticed she had wandered off.  Families whose moms and dads are being pushed out of hospitals when they are too sick to leave should call out publicly for help, as Macpherson’s son has done.  Physicians have a responsibility to reassess their role in discharging acutely ill patients.  Hospital staff, too, must step up and defend the generation that fought World War II and built medicare. They deserve our best efforts to make them well.

If that’s not possible, they deserve a kind and gentle, attentive and loving end of life. They don’t deserve the dehumanization foisted on them by governments’ health policy choices that underlie the "bed blocker" label.

ONLINE COMMENT: The Fraser Institute recently suggested a five-year moratorium on the Canada Health Act so that experiments in the private delivery of health services could be carried out. Sharon Sholzberg-Gray thinks that’s a bad idea. See today for her commentary.


January 1, 2011
                                                          Happy New Year

May 2011 bring your health and happiness.

On behalf of your SOS executive (Jeff, Conrad, Jim, Shirley, Herb & Bill) we wish  to thank everyone for your support during 2010. Let us  assure you that your SOS executive has the pulse on what is happening with our Sydenham Hospital,  CKHA, ESLHIN and the Provincial Government.  


The Rural and Northern Health Care Report has been released. SOS will be counting on your support as we approach the 2011 Provincial Elections.


Posted Dec. 14
You Can Join the Fight Against Superbugs Chatham-Kent --

 Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is focused on patient safety. In its efforts to reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistant organisms (more commonly called ‘superbugs’), CKHA is raising awareness and inviting help from the public.

Superbugs are certain strains of bacteria that have become resistant to multiple antibiotics. They can cause serious infections that are more difficult to treat because there are a limited number of antibiotics that will work against them. Some of the most common superbugs are MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci). Fortunately, superbugs are easily killed by hand cleaning and common disinfectants.

In hospitals and healthcare facilities, it is very important to know if someone is a carrier of a superbug so that healthcare workers can take extra precautions to prevent spread to other patients, and if people who are carriers develop an infection, the right antibiotic can be started sooner. This includes the antibiotics given during surgical procedures.

"Unidentified carriers of superbugs can be the source of spread to other patients, because the right precautions were not put in place," said Erika Vitale, Infection Control Practitioner. "It is very important that if you or a close contact have such a history to inform your healthcare providers."

Although being a carrier of a superbug does not interfere with your ability to carry out activities of normal daily living, if you or a loved one is identified as a carrier of MRSA or VRE, special precautions will be used when you are admitted to hospital to prevent spread to other patients. This includes special accommodation, and the use of gloves and gowns by healthcare professionals providing your direct care. As always, good hand hygiene is recommended. Being a carrier of a superbug does not affect the quality of care or ability to receive services in hospital. All healthcare facilities in Ontario are equipped to manage patients that have superbugs.  CKHA has a system in place that confidentially alerts healthcare providers in all areas of the hospital when a patient has been identified as a carrier of MRSA or VRE. This system also alerts the infection control practitioners if a patient who was a contact of an MRSA or VRE patients is readmitted. This allows CKHA to perform follow-up testing on patients who may have a shared a room with someone who was later identified as a carrier, which sometimes happens after a patient has been discharged.   Since testing for superbugs can take two to three days, CKHA encourages patients to follow up with their physician on any tests performed while in hospital.   Patient safety is important. Please inform your healthcare provider if you have any of the following risk factors that might put you at a greater risk of carrying a superbug:  Had a superbug previously e.g. MRSA or VR ; Hospital stay in the last 12 months;  Spent time in a healthcare facility or long term care facility;  Recent exposure (in hospital or at home); Home health care services; Indwelling medical device e.g. PICC line or catheter;  Received care in intensive care, burn or transplant unit;Living in a communal setting e.g. shelter or group home;  History of IV drug use;  Household or close contact of someone who known to be a carrier;  Immune compromised e.g. received an organ transplant, on immunosuppressive drug / therapy / condition; Population where community acquired MRSA is a problem e.g. outbreak in athletes.

Media Contact:  Erika Vitale

Infection Control Practitioner   Chatham-Kent Health Alliance    519-352-6400 x525



Home-care services can’t keep up, audit finds

Toronto Star

December 06, 2010

Moira Welsh and Theresa Boyle

Staff Reporters

Janet Tapping is trained as a chartered accountant but now she’s giving speech therapy to her 7-year-old son because he’s spent more than a year on Ontario’s home care waiting list.

“I am not a professional speech therapist — I’m hoping the sounds coming out of his mouth are the right sounds,” Tapping said.

“My options were to pay for a regular speech therapist, which I can’t afford, or stay on the waiting list.”

Tapping’s son, Jonathan, is one of the 10,000 Ontarians who are on waiting lists for home-care services, according to a report released Monday by the provincial auditor general.

While Jonathan has been on the Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) list since October 2009, many across the province, from young children to the very old, wait an average of eight to 262 days, the report said.

Auditor General Jim McCarter devoted a chapter of his annual report to home care, finding that the sector is unable to keep up with obligations in providing personal support, homemaking and therapy services.

The sector doesn’t have the financial resources to meet the demand for personal support and homemaking services, the report noted. These services are often required by seniors and people discharged from hospital.

And a shortage of professionals in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech-language therapy is resulting in waiting lists for their services.

Ontario’s 14 community care access centres are responsible for providing home-care services to more than half a million people who might otherwise have to stay in hospitals or go to long-term care facilities.

McCarter found significant disparities with the provision of home-care services across the province. His report noted, for example, that one CCAC received twice as much funding per capita than another. (The report did not identify the location of these CCACs.)

“The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recognizes that enhancing home-care services saves money and improves quality of life by allowing people to remain in their homes rather than in hospitals or long-term care facilities,” he said.

“However, although home-care funding has increased, funding inequities we’ve noted in previous audits remain because the ministry is still allocating fundings based largely on what it gave in the past rather than on the specific needs of the local clientele,” he added.

Natalie Mehra, of the Ontario Health Coalition, applauded the report, saying it “gives numbers to support what many people across Ontario have been saying.

“Home-care services are inequitable and many patients who need them don’t receive them when they get out of the hospital . . . This is a service gap that the government ignores at its peril.”

Sharleen Stewart, president of Service Employees International Union, which represents most unionized home-care workers, called the auditor’s findings the “tip of the iceberg in the crisis that is about to hit us.”

Stewart said the CCACs are not doing proper assessments of clients’ needs, so many personal support workers are giving care that is beyond their training.

“The government has to step in to fix this,” she said.

McCarter was critical of the ministry for taking so long to overhaul the way it funds the sector, noting that the same problem was highlighted in his office’s annual reports in 2004 and 1998.

CCACs received $1.76 billion for the year ending March 31, 2009, up from $1.22 billion in 2004, for an increase of 40 per cent. But since that time the number of clients has increased by more than two thirds, to 586,400 from 350,000.

The auditor also found that eligibility criteria for services differed from CCAC to CCAC. For example, in one, only those clients who were assessed to have “high risks/needs” were eligible for personal support services such as bathing, changing clothes and assistance with toileting. Those assessed as having “moderate risks/needs” or below were deemed ineligible for funded personal support services and were not even added to wait lists. Instead, they were referred to community agencies, where they would in some cases have to pay out of pocket for the identical services.

Insufficient home-care services are responsible for major bottlenecks in hospitals, the auditor found. About 50 per cent of patients who could have been discharged if home-care services had been available had to wait in hospital an average of six days for the services. This has a domino effect, resulting in delays for surgery and long waits in hospital emergency departments.

Both opposition leaders criticized the government for failing to live up to promises to help seniors age at home.

The home-care system “needs to be overhauled significantly in this province,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said.

Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said the government is wasting too much taxpayer money on bureaucracy in health care.

“People are paying more and getting less in return,” he said.

The reporters can be reached can be reached at or 



Lowther appointed to LHIN board

Chatham This Week News




The provincial public appointments secretariat has appointed Mike Lowther to the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) board of directors. 

Currently, Lowther is the controller/CFO of Waddick Fuels. He is a certified management accountant and a member of The Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.

A long-time resident of Chatham, Lowther is very active in the community, having served as a member of the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Chatham, Kiwanis Club of Chatham, Chatham Girls Minor Softball Association, Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers and the Maple City Country Club. He was also a member of the School Council for Chatham-Kent Secondary School.

LHIN board members are selected using a merit-based process, with all candidates assessed for the fit between skills and abilities of the prospective appointee and the needs of each LHIN board. Directors are expected to possess relevant expertise, experience, leadership skills and have an understanding of local health issues, needs and priorities.

The Erie St. Clair LHIN and its board are responsible for over $1 billion of health care services delivered in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia/Lambton and Windsor/Essex.

"I am honoured to have been appointed to the ESC LHIN board," said Lowther in a news release. "I am a local person who lives and works in Chatham-Kent and I care about the health care my family and our local residents receive."

Article ID# 2829124



Courier Press: Oct. 21 Edition         Picture on page 15

CLV matches $194.00 dollars that  SOS collected at their summer BBQ.   In the photo, CLV donates an extra $1000.00 to the SOS funds.  CLV is a local business which owns five apartment buildings in Wallaceburg and two in Dresden.

Thank you CLV.

Conrad Noel, SOS vice chairperson

October 28th

Letter to the editor as published in today’s Chatham Daily News (


Sir: To quote Mr. Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair LHIN, from the recent article, "Contract decision defended," in the Oct. 21 Chatham Daily News, "At no time was there any recommendation or plan to close an ED (Emergency Department)."

To quote Section 5.9 of the Hay Report -Summary and Directions for Change:

There are two alternatives that may be considered for the Wallaceburg community:

"Closure of the ED and redirection of all patients to Chatham...

"Consideration should be given to the creation of a comprehensive primary care facility in Wallaceburg..."

The Hay report continued with direction for change that included, and I once again quote:

"The Emergency Department at Wallaceburg should cease to operate as a full service ED.

"Prior to the closure, the CKHA should develop a comprehensive plan to ensure a viable Emergency Department at the Chatham site which will provide services to residents of Wallaceburg and Walpole Island."

When sole-source contracts are awarded by a Liberal appointed CEO, to well-connected Liberal consultants for the purposes spinning a flawed Liberal message, then something has gone awry. When a small hospital is expected to act as an ATM for this transaction, then an entire community is insulted.

The premier should immediately review the priorities and poor decisions of this bloated health-care bureaucracy.

Jim Hasson Wallaceburg

Article ID# 2820210 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 27th

Letters to the Editor


Sir: Re: "Something taints the air in Erie St. Clair," Oct. 22 point of view in The Chatham Daily News.

In response to the point of view, it is important that we clearly communicate to your readers the purpose of Laurie Lashbrook's work with our LHIN related to the Small Emergency Department Study.

Ms. Lashbrook was not hired to communicate the Hay Group findings. The services she provided supported our own LHIN review that followed the Hay Group report.

The result of this work was to not accept the findings of the Hay Report, but instead focus in a different direction, improving access to primary health care across our LHIN region.

Further, Laurie provided advice and learnings that we still draw upon today, on how to communicate and engage with our community more effectively. This was a concern voiced to us by the community throughout the Small Emergency Department study, and we took this concern very seriously.

The role of consultants is to bring their expertise and outside perspective to organizations in order to meet a short-term need of a project or just make them better. We are striving to be a better organization, and experts like Laurie help us to do that.

Gary Switzer CEO, Erie-St. Clair LHIN  _______________________________________________________________________________________________

The Welland Tribune

Fri Oct 29 2010


Dateline: WELLAND

A Toronto lawyer says there may be grounds for a Welland lawsuit against the Local Health Integration Network and the provincial government.

Last week, Welland city council passed a resolution instructing staff to get legal opinion about the potential for legal action against the LHIN and province in an effort to stop the implementation of changes to the delivery of local hospital services.

Port Colborne city council passed a similar resolution in August.

Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie said the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada prevent him from publicly discussing clients or even potential clients. But generally speaking, the lawyer who recently led a successful class-action lawsuit against Vale (Inco) said the legal action the cities are considering has potential.

"We are familiar with the issue, and generally we believe that there may be grounds for some type of legal challenge to these kinds of decisions," he said, adding his law firm has already been contacted by groups from other communities regarding potential legal action to preserve health-care services.

Such a legal challenge, he said, could also mean at least a temporary end to the implementation of further changes to the delivery of hospital services, pending the outcome of litigation.

"That would be within the kind of relief that could be requested," Gillespie told The Tribune.

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Campion, chair of Welland's health-care committee, said Gillespie's comment was the type of information he was hoping to hear. He said the city is contacting another Toronto law firm, and he's anticipating receiving a report by next week.

From there, Campion said if the city gets "an affirmative response, which it sounds like we might, then we take it to the next step.... We'll get the ball rolling."

Because of city council's lame duck status, a final decision would have to be made by the new city council after its sworn in in December.

Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey said his city's efforts to take legal action to preserve hospital services began long before its council resolution was passed Aug. 23.

He said Port Colborne has been working on potential litigation for more than a year, although the interest in seeking legal recourse was elevated in south Niagara as a result of Ontario's ombudsman report on a lack of public consultation that led the LHIN to approve Niagara Health System's hospital improvement plan.

Badawey said he was happy to see that Welland has "finally" followed suit.

He said the growing interest is a recognition of the "negative impact" hospital changes are having regionwide.

Because Port Colborne and Welland are both working on the same strategy, Campion said he hopes the neighbouring cities can team up, along with any other community with same concerns.

"My entire plan is to find out if we have legal grounds and once we know that I would contact all the municipalities in Niagara, and particularly the southern tier ones. ... We might as well put our resources together and our knowledge together," Campion said.

"There's no point in launching six or seven lawsuits against somebody, let's get together and do it right and share the costs."

He said he'd like to reach out to communities across the province, particularly in rural areas, to see if they'd like to get involved, too.

"I believe this is a province-wide issue, not just a Niagara issue. Based on that, there may be more participation."

And if enough municipalities get involved, it might get the attention of the provincial government, he added.

Badawey would support working with Welland and other communities. He said Port Colborne formed Niagara South Health Care Cor to help neighbouring communities work together on common goals.

He called this case a fight he's prepared to lead.

But Badawey said he's also still willing to work with the health system, LHIN and province to develop a hospital improvement plan that will work -- but to accomplish that, he said the organizations need to "hear the displeasure, anger and frustration of the service providers.


Conrad's Editorial


The best way to communicate with our community is to be open and honest.  Each time a new consultant (which obviously means more wasteful  money) is hired  a RED FLAG  goes up.

 Sydenham Hospital needs every possible dollar so when ES LHIN wastes money on more consultant fees what do they expect the community to do? 

Maybe there is something wrong with the ES LHIN staffing because they once again need outside help to support what they are doing.  If what they did was honest and above board, they would not need to go out and waste more money and the community would support their work. 

Lastly, LHIN's and McGuinty's  government are synonymous with the  destruction of Ontario's Health Care System.  Those are good reasons why both are not trusted and disliked.



Something taints the air in Erie-St. Clair

By BRUCE CORCORAN  Chatham Daily News

The local LHIN looks a little worse for the wear after the provincial Conservatives dumped a used bedpan on its head this week.

What's worse, the excrement can all be tracked back to the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network.

The Conservatives, led by Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey and health critic Christine Elliott, accused local health-care overseers of sole-sourcing a consultant's contract, a procedure the premier has banned.

Furthermore, it was a $30,000 contract to spin the convoluted results of the Hay Report -which recommended the closure of small-town emergency rooms in Wallaceburg and Petrolia -into something the general public could understand.

To top if off, the gold-plated deal went to a consultant who is literally in bed with the Liberals -well, one at least.

The LHIN had its faulty $87,000 Hay Group report, which couldn't even accurately gauge the travel time and patient numbers.

Rather than revisit the flaws, which might have led to a change in mindset over ER closures, the LHIN opted to hire another consultant to help spin and deliver the Hay message.

And instead of going through an RFP process, the LHIN hand picked a London-area consultant, Laurie Lashbrook, who happens to be the wife of London West federal Liberal candidate and former president of the Liberal Party of Canada Doug Ferguson.

Talk about the perfect political storm: A Liberal created body chooses a consultant with blatant Liberal ties without sending the task to tender, even though the Liberal premier says sole sourcing is no longer tolerated. Ooops.

Forgive us if no one in Chatham-Kent is laughing. To top it off, this is a glaring sign of how bureaucracy is running the show and bogging us down with consultant overload -a consultant is hired to help communicate a flawed report from another consultant.

But the finger-pointing Conservatives aren't perfect in their efforts here. They didn't exactly get their facts too straight when opening fire. First, Elliott came out in Question Period at Queen's Park on Tuesday saying the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance doled out the sole-sourced gravy deal to Lashbrook, when it was the LHIN's call to gift-wrap it to her. It turns out the CKHA had to write the cheque under LHIN orders.

Still, the consulting facts speak for themselves. This was another LHIN fiasco; another $30,000 in taxpayer funds squandered.

About the only consultant blunder the LHIN can't take credit for is the Veritas debacle of last year. For anyone who forgot, the CKHA hired Veritas to develop a community engagement plan and speak to community leaders. One of its employees instead attempted to dig up dirt on SOS chairman Jeff Wesley.

But then again, the LHIN can't be perfect at imperfection, can it?

Article ID# 2811354


Conrad's Editorial

Great job Bruce.  Your views are highly respected because they reveal the "truth".


CKHA says consultant practices are ‘sound’

Local News


The Daily News

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance says many of its processes were found to be sound during a random spot audit that is part of a special report by Ontario's Auditor General focusing on questionable practices used in hiring consultants.

Jim McCarter tabled the report in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday outlining many examples of poor business practices being employed by Ontario's health-care sector — based on audits of three Local Health Integration Networks and 16 hospitals — to hire and manage the use of consultants, resulting in several instances where costs ballooned.

Colin Patey, CKHA president and CEO, said in a written statement, "we welcome the report and we take its findings and recommendations seriously."

He said the CKHA co-operated fully with the auditor during on-site visits.

"While many of our processes were found to be sound, we acknowledge that there is always room for improvement," Patey said.

McCarter's look at hospitals found consultants were often selected without competition and without a clear, written-out agreement setting out exactly what they were supposed to do.

The report, which didn't specifically name any health organization, also discovered consultant contracts were often extended without tender and costs were allowed to snowball from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars above the original price. There were also numerous examples of consultants hired on a sole-source basis.

According to the report, one hospital paid a consultant $170,000 in expenses between 2007 and 2009. When auditors inquired about these expenses, the hospital asked the consultant to provide receipts to support the expense charges but was told it would have to pay a $3,000 service fee. The hospital refused and the consultant didn't provide the requested information.

Eight of the 16 hospitals hired consultants to lobby governments for more funding, according to the report.

McCarter noted, in a press release, that although the amounts were relatively small, this was a "questionable use of funds provided to hospitals for clinical and administrative activities."

The Ontario government announced Wednesday strict new rules preventing organizations funded with taxpayer dollars from using public funds to hire lobbyists to ask for more funding, according a press release issued by Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Pat Hoy.

"The examples the auditor found are unacceptable, which is why we are implementing all his recommendations and going even further," Hoy said.

The government has introduced the Broader Public Sector Accountabilty Act that, if passed, would bring in new rules and higher accountability standards for hospitals, LHINs and the broader public sector around the use of external lobbyists, consultants and expenses, Hoy said.

Wayne Schnabel, chairman of the executive committee of CKHA's Tri-Board of directors, said in written release, the board supports the government's ban on the use of consultant lobbyists.

"And for the record, CKHA does not use the services of a consultant lobbyist," Schnabel said. "We believe that discussions about our hospital's needs with government are best done directly by our tri-board and administration."

Progressive Conservative MPP Bob Bailey, for Sarnia-Lambton, issued a press release Tuesday critical of the Erie-St. Clair LHIN authorizing the hiring of a consultant on a sole-source basis.

With respect to the Auditor General's report, he questioned what the ministers of these various ministries were thinking when "fellas in fancy suits and shiny brief cases" showed up at their offices asking for more money.

Bailey said people have been waiting for cancer treatments and surgeries and told there is no dollars to run operating rooms while millions of dollars were being squandered on consultants.

"It was like an orgy of spending while people are waiting for health procedures," he said.

The Ontario Auditor General's 32-page report can be viewed online at

Article ID# 2809047

LHIN awarded sole-sourced contract  



The Erie-St.Clair Integrated Health Network awarded a sole-sourced contract to a consultant, but it wasn't to prop up a case to close emergency departments, the agency's chief executive officer says.

"At no time was there any recommendation or plan to close an ED (emergency department)," Gary Switzer said.

The LHIN called on consultant Laurie Lashbrook to assist in developing community engagement and communication strategies to discuss the findings in the 2009 Hay Group report on three area rural hospitals, Switzer said.

The report called for replacing the emergency departments in Petrolia and Wallaceburg with comprehensive primary care facilities that would no longer operate 24- hours a day.

On Tuesday, Ontario Progressive Conservative health critic Christine Elliott accused the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance of breaking the Ontario Liberal government's rule of giving out sole-sourced contracts by hiring Lashbrook, who is married to a federal Liberal candidate from London, without tendering for the job.

On Wednesday, Switzer said it was the LHIN that hired Lashbrook & Associates. However, under the procurement rules, the LHIN is allowed to sole-source contracts for specific reasons, he said.

"We were hearing from our community that we weren't doing a good enough job (communicating the Hay Report finds), so we thought, 'Let's reach out and hire a local expert.' "

Asked about the PC party raising the issue, Switzer said, "I don't know what point they're trying to make to be honest.

He said the LHIN received sound advice from Lashbrook that it used for communicating with the public.

The information provided from the consultant continues to be used in community engagement sessions in Petrolia to deal with a potential shortage of physicians at CEEH, Switzer added.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, who issued a new release about the issue Tuesday, said he doesn't buy Swi tzer' s claim that the LHIN was within its rights to single-source the contract.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty issued an order that no more sole-source contracts be allowed months after the Hay report was released, he said.

Bailey said he used to work in industry and if he circumvented a direct order from his boss, "I would have been going down the road looking for another job."

Article ID# 2809928


Conrad's Editorial


This is wrong for the ES LHIN to award a contract and have the CKHA pay for it when ever dollar is needed for the two hospitals in Chatham-Kent.  I my personal opinion, what they did is unethical.

I wonder if that contract was approved by the ES LHIN Board of Directors?



Oct. 20

Good Afternoon All:

 As I said earlier while we rely on volunteers and donations in our fight to save SDH and local health services the LHIN and the Province waste huge sums of money that could go towards providing front line health services in our community. As the week unfolds I expect more revelations and I will try to keep you up to date as best I can.

 Jeff Wesley, Chairperson-SOS

 TORONTO - Ontario's health bureaucracy is facing yet another scandal in the wake of more revelations of spending and procurement abuses. In a special report released Wednesday morning, Auditor-General Jim McCarter outlines numerous problems at hospitals and local health integration networks (LHINs), regional funding agencies created by the Liberal government. McCarter points to the questionable hiring of pricey consultants, many of which were sole-sourced and often not required to justify the work they did. The report details a litany of questionable consulting gigs at hospitals, including one, worth $700,000, that was so vague it didn't even list a detailed description of services needed.

Another hospital completely failed to account for a $170,000 consultant contract, and was unable to produce the initial request for proposal, the names and number of firms invited to bid, the bidders' proposals or any evaluation criteria used to reward the contract. The same firm was retained for another, $430,000 contract. Another hospital paid $8.3 million to one consulting firm for IT services over the past three fiscal years, including $180,000 the firm charges for each consultant it provides.


The auditor's report also details questionable expense claims by hospital consultants. They include one temporary executive who, despite his $275,000 annual salary, also billed the hospital nearly $150,000 for other consultants and administrative support, $14,000 for salary bonuses, foreign exchange fees and a Christmas luncheon, and numerous expensive hotels (including one, in Chicago, where he paid $500 for hotel phone charges) and lavish meals around the world.


McCarter also questioned the use of lobbyists by half the 16 hospitals he audited.   "We questioned the appropriateness of using government funds to pay lobbyists to help obtain more government funding. "Health minister Deb Matthews reacted swiftly to the report, announcing legislation that will ban the use of lobbyists and open hospitals to freedom of information legislation by January 1, 2012. 


The auditor-general also found "significant" problems with consultant contracts signed by LHINs The revelations contained in Wednesday's report are reminiscent of those unearthed last December, when Mr. McCarter detailed spending abuses at eHealth Ontario. That agency, created by the Liberal government, was found to have given millions in sole-sourced contracts to high-priced consultants with few controls and little oversight. "I'm not afraid to say that I'm really sorry this has gone on," said Matthews. "I don't think this is acceptable. I don't think we've been as accountable as we ought to have been. We owe it to taxpayers to ensure that every dollar they spend on taxes gets the best possible value."


Conrad's Editorial

Deb Matthews says:" I don't think that we've been as accountable as we ought to have been".  Wow!! That's an understatement. 

Millions and millions of dollars have been wasted and health services have been drastically reduced due to this mismanagement of public dollars.  Wasted dollars are never recovered.  


On 21/10/2010 4:12 PM, billpollock wrote:

> What a bunch of hogwash. This should have been taken care of a long
> time ago and now it may become legislation and if legislated it won't
> take effect until January 1, 2012. Maria certainly distorts the truth
> and is wearing her teflon suit. How dare she blame other political
> paties for her own party's incompetance. Talk about turning a blind
> eye to what's been going on. The Liberals have enjoyed the luxury of a
> majority provincial government and only because of public exposure
> have they majicly decided to try to attempt to do anything
> what-so-ever about this blatant disregard of tax payer money and of
> our public health care system. SHAME SHAME SHAME. Maria must consider
> us in the same regard as a pack of baboons. We must not be misled.


Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PRESS RELEASE



October 20, 2010

QUEEN’S PARK—There will be strict new rules preventing organizations funded with taxpayer dollars from using public funds to hire lobbyists to ask for more funding, says Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel.

“The examples the Auditor found are unacceptable, which is why we are implementing all his recommendations and going even further,” said Van Bommel. “This is all about respect for taxpayer dollars, and remembering who is paying the bills. People expect their tax dollars to go into front line health care and public services, and that is our expectation too – that’s what our action today is all about.”

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to hire an external lobbyist to ask for more taxpayer dollars – it is unacceptable, it’s gone on for too long, and it’s over today,” said Van Bommel. “The Conservatives and NDP were content to look the other way. We’ve been raising the bar by mandating public disclosure of expenses online, expanding the power of the Auditor General to investigate hospitals, school boards and universities, and expanding freedom of information legislation.”

“While the McGuinty government has cut consultant spending by half compared to the previous Conservative government, these new rules take another step forward for higher standards and increased accountability and transparency,” said Van Bommel.

The proposed Broader Public Sector Accountability Act would, if passed, bring in new rules and higher accountability standards for hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the broader public sector around the use of external lobbyists, consultants and expenses. Hospital and LHIN executives could see reductions in pay, should they fail to comply with the requirements under the proposed Act. The new rules would also apply to school boards, colleges, universities, hydro entities, community care access centres, Children’s Aid Societies and other public sector organizations that receive more than $10 million in government funding.

In addition to ending the use of taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists, the new rules would:

* Expand Freedom of Information legislation to cover hospitals.
* Require hospitals and LHINs to post expenses of senior executives online.
* Require hospitals and LHINs to report annually on their use of consultants.

“Using taxpayer dollars to hire an external lobbyist to ask for more taxpayer dollars is a practice that has gone on for too long – it’s unacceptable and it’s over. We have to focus our investments on front-line health care and public programs. It’s what the public expects and deserves,” said Health Minister Deb Matthews.

Contact: Maria Van Bommel, MPP @ 519-245-8696; 1-800-265-3916

Conrad's Editorial


Isn't amazing that it has taken the McGuinty government so long to publicly consider this problem.  Isn't it amazing that if it becomes legislation that it won't take effect until January 1, 2012?  I really thought that it was an error. I thought Deb Matthews meant January 1,2011.  Meanwhile millions of dollars are wasted and will continue to be wasted  with  more and more hospitals and medical services drastically cut and eliminated.  Isn't it surprising that the provincial elections will take place ONE year from now and McGuinty's majority government is beginning to listen to the tax payers?


CKHA refutes PC statement


Unfortunately this is yet another case of the LHIN and the Province of Ontario wasting precious health care dollars that should be going into local health care services. While the SOS is completely volunteer driven and depends on the generosity and support of the citizens of Wallaceburg and area by asking for donations the LHIN simply writes a cheque for $30,000 of your tax dollars to hire yet another consultant to work against our community by trying to close our ER.  The fact that the contract was untendered and the money went to a liberal friendly consultant is all the more troubling. We need to remain very vigilant in support of our hospital.

 The new CKHA CEO Colin Patey continues to work with SOS and the community and we expect further positive developments in that regard. The SDH Corporations meeting is on Oct. 26th at 4:30 pm at the Oaks Inn (the day after the municipal election) and it is very important and we need a good turnout. SOS hopes to see you there.

 Jeff Wesley      Chairperson - SOS  

Oct. 19


CKHA refutes PC statement


The Daily News

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance are at odds as to how a consultant deal transpired concerning the Sydenham Campus.

During Tuesday's Question Period, health critic MPP Christine Elliott said the contract was given to a Liberal-friendly consultant.

"Freedom of information records received by the PC caucus revealed that Chatham–Kent Health Alliance handed out a sole sourced contract after the Premier said these sweetheart deals were banned," she was quoted in a Conservative Party news release.

"The contract was for $30,000 to defend the plan to close the Wallaceburg emergency department."

Elliott said the deal was given to Laurie Lashbrook, who is married to federal London West Liberal candidate and former Liberal Party of Canada president Doug Ferguson.

The party stated the consultant was hired to defend the Hay Group's recommendation to close the Wallaceburg, Petrolia and Leamington emergency departments.

In 2009, the Hay Group gave its report to the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network. However, the board has yet to make a decision and there have been numerous public consultations.

Colin Patey, president and CEO of CKHA, said the PC party's media release was misleading.

"We did not award the contract," he said, noting it was the LHIN. "Our role was in fact as a payment agency."

Because of that, Patey said he couldn't address why the consultant was hired or speak on the scope of the project.

A LHIN spokesperson couldn't be reached on Tuesday.

The PC media release, issued by Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, stated in the second paragraph that "the McGuinty Government gave an untendered contract" while later in the release Elliott said it was the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Bailey could not be reached for comment, nor could local Liberal MPPs.

Although relatively new to CKHA, Patey said he has learned the background of the Sydenham Campus issue and stressed he will continue to work with the community.

Jeff Wesley, Save Our Sydenham chairman, said fewer dollars need to be spent on consultants.

He said his organization is frustrated with the province.

"That's money that could be going into health care and going into making services available for the local citizens in our communities," he said.

The Sydenham District Hospital board is slated to meet on Oct. 26 at the Oaks Inn from 4:30-6 p.m.

Oct. 19


Liberal-friendly consultant hired to promote Petrolia ER closure, Bailey claims

The Observer

Bob Bailey and his Ontario Conservative Party claim the Dalton McGuinty government hired a consultant to promote the closure of local rural hospitals, including Charlotte Eleanor Englehart in Petrolia.

A news release issued by the Sarnia-Lambton MPP Tuesday states Laurie Lashbrook was given an untendered contract to defend the Hay Group Report, which in 2009 recommended the closure of emergency services at Petrolia, Leamington and Wallaceburg hospitals.

Lashbrook is married to current London-West Liberal candidate Doug Ferguson, who is also a former Liberal Party of Canada president.

"What else is new?" asked Arlene Patterson of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition. "We've known this for a long time."

She said Ontario is creating centres of excellence, moving toward more privatization and a pay-for-performance model, all, she said, with an endgame of closing rural hospitals.

"Bluewater Health corporation has to shore up a deficit of $6 million. One way of doing that is closing small rural hospitals," she said.

Port Erie and Port Colborne recently closed their ERs, she said, and Bracebridge, Huntsville and Burks Falls were downgraded to urgent care facilities.

"The reason it's taking so long in this particular area, geographically, is because there was such an outcry from the community," Patterson said.

During Question Period Tuesday, PC health critic Christine claimed the Chatham–Kent Health Alliance handed out a sole-sourced contract "after the Premier said these sweetheart deals were banned. The contract was for $30,000 to defend the plan to close the Wallaceburg emergency department."

But Colin Patey, president and CEO of CKHA, said Bailey's release was misleading because it was the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network that awarded the contract.

"We did not award the contract. Our role was in fact as a payment agency," he said.

In the release, Bailey urges the Ontario Liberals to "stop spending money on public relations schemes to win favour in order to close rural hospitals and put that money where it is needed — with front-line health care, our nurses and doctors."

But Patterson criticized Bailey for not co-ordinating with the Health Coalition and other watchdog groups, saying she's seen no Conservative plan to bring about change.

Liberal Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel did not return a call by press time.

The Hay Group Report was commissioned by the LHIN and recommended closing emergency services at hospitals in Petrolia, Leamington and Wallaceburg.

A large public backlash has so far staved off service reductions in Petrolia.

With files from QMI Agency.

Article ID# 2807071

October 1


To all:


Its been a while since we have had an opportunity to meet and discuss healthcare issues affecting our communities.


Next Meeting with SDH Board of Directors


At our last meeting with the SDH Board, the Chair announced that a meeting would be called with the membership for Tuesday, October 26th. We now know that the time scheduled for this meeting is 4:30 pm and it will be held at the Oaks Inn.


This will be our opportunity to assess how well our new relationship is working. Everyone is encouraged to attend.


Request from S.O.S.


Jeff Wesley, on behalf of S.O.S., has sent the following communication to the Health Alliance and requested that these specific issues be covered at the meeting.


Please read the email and be prepared to support the requests made.


All Candidates Meeting


On another note, an all candidates meeting is being held this Tuesday at 7pm at the Oaks Inn. This is an excelant opportunity for you to raise healthcare issues even tthough they are not a municipal mandate.


I hope that you have enjoyed the summer, but it is now time to get back to work and fight for the local healthcare that we all want and deserve.


I hope to see all of you at the upcoming meetings.




----- Original Message -----

From: Wesley, Jeff

To: Nicki Brownlee


Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:35 PM

Subject: Wallaceburg: Request to the SDH Board on behalf of SOS


Sydenham District Hospital Board of Directors                                                                           September 30, 2010

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

P.O. Box 2030

Chatham ON N7M 5L9

Delivered Via Email


Dear SDH Board Members:



On behalf of the S.O.S Committee please accept this request for items to be included in the agenda and discussed at the upcoming October 26, 2010 meeting with the SDH Corporation Members. We are supplying this request, in advance, so that the SDH Board can request the information necessary for an informed discussion. If you require anything further in regards to this request (since this meeting was already announced as scheduled at the last meeting we anticipate not having to follow all the formalities) please let me know as soon as possible. The requests are listed below.


            We request that the Board of Directors, after consulting with the community, patients and staff at SDH (to determine priorities use the net accumulated income of the Endowment Funds (as at March 31, 2010) for equipment, repairs, updating and painting at the Emergency Department and SDH in general. The funds available, as per Note 10 of the SDH Financial Statements, amounts to $355,673. If you agree to this an approach could be made to the CKHA Foundation for a top up to $500,000 and there are those in our community (some of whom are members of SOS) who would be prepared to undertake a fundraising campaign for an additional $500,000 making $1 million available for the betterment of SDH. We ask that you take this proposal seriously.


·                     We request an itemized statement on the debits and credits to the net accumulated income of the SDH Endowment Funds for the period 1998 to present.


·                     On the four Financial Statements (Alliance, Public General, St. Joseph and Sydenham District Hospital) under Commitments, in Notes 11,13, 11, and 12 respectively, it lists that "The Alliance has entered into a contract for building and building equipment upgrades in order to reduce energy and operation costs.  The project is expected to cost $5,656,900 of which $1,414,225 has been spent to March 31, 2010."  Our question to the Board is how much of this $5,656,900 is for building and building equipment upgrades at SDH?  Of the amount of $1,414,225 spent to date how much of that has been spent at SDH? Please provide details on what specifically this project will consist of. 


·                     This item concerns borrowings amongst the three hospitals.  On Note 2, Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities, PGH Financial Statements (pg 10), an amount of $804,700 is payable to SDH.  On Note 2, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities, SJH Financial Statements (pg 9) an amount of $496,497 is payable to SDH.  The total of the combined borrowings is $1,301,197. Please explain what is taking place here and why. How are these funds paid back? Do these financial transactions work both ways, that is, is SDH able to borrow funds from PGH and SJH for use at SDH?  If so, how is this done?

 Thank you, in advance, for this opportunity to clarify some issues and concerns at the upcoming meeting on October 26th. If you require anything in regard to this request please let me know as soon as possible.  We look forward to a mutually beneficial two way communication on the 26th.


Jeff Wesley

Chairperson – SOS Committee


Sept. 24


From: Doug Allan

To: ''

Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 11:30 AM

Subject: [Ontario Hospitals] OHC tour

Hospital restructuring out of control: Health coalition ; HEALTH

Simcoe Reformer
Fri Sep 24 2010
 Section: News 

The McGuinty Liberals are taking hospital restructuring to a whole new level, moving beyond what was attempted by either the Mike Harris Tories and the Bob Rae NDP, the Ontario Health Coalition warned Thursday.

"It is taking that notion and putting it on steroids," OHC director Natalie Mehra told a forum in London.

Mehra said the current funding of hospitals falls below the rate of inflation. With deficits outlawed, hospital officials are cutting beds, rehabilitation services, out-patient physiotherapy and speech pathology services.

"We are also seeing cuts to everything, maternity and child programs, cuts to operating rooms, and medical and surgical beds," she said.

In total, 3,000 nurses have been laid off since January, she said.

Under the Bob Rae government in the 1990s, 10,000 hospital beds were closed. Under the Harris government, 22 hospitals were shut down, 10,000 beds cut and 39 hospitals amalgamated into 12 or 13, Mehra said.

While the Rae and Harris governments restructured hospitals on a city level, the McGuinty government is basing it on the regions covered by Local Health Integration Networks.

"They are rationing hospital services across the whole LHINs. There will be two hospitals in a LHIN that provide all the chronic care beds and patients will have to travel to those beds. There will be one hospital that provides all the cataract surgeries and people will have to travel."

Based on leaked reports earlier this year, the Ontario Health Coalition is warning that the government plans to shift hospitals to a fee-for-service system similar to one adopted in Britain.

If the system is implemented, it will mean the government will set prices for procedures such as cataracts and stipulate the volumes.

Hospitals would bid for the work against each other and if they can't meet the set price or volumes, they will have to drop the service, Mehra said.

The system would mean instead of providing a wide range of services, hospitals would have to decide what areas they are competitive in.

"For instance, if I am the hospital in Strathroy, I need decide am I going to focus on volumes of cataracts or volumes of knee surgeries . . . What they want is hospitals that pump out high volume, low-cost surgeries," she said.

Mehra predicted the result will be hospital services being centralized into fewer sites.

For patients, it would mean traveling from hospital to hospital for different services.

The Ontario Health Coalition is holding regional forums on hospital restructuring across the province, including Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Ottawa and Toronto.

© 2010 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.


MPP, health minister defend hospital funding

The Sault Star
Fri Sep 24 2010
Page: A3
Section: News

A meeting of the Ontario Health Coalition in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday has prompted MPP David Orazietti and even Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews to defend the way hospitals will be funded in the near future.

The OHC is on a six-city tour sounding the alarm bells about the planned switch from block-grant funding to what the government calls "patient-based" and what opponents call "fee-for-service" funding.

OHC director Natalie Mehra said hospitals competing for dollars will result in lost funding and, subsequently, services at the ones that can't per-for m those services as efficiently.

"It's the opposite of the vision of relatively comprehensive hospitals that provide a relatively comprehensive range of services," Mehra said to approximately a dozen people at the Royal Canadian Legion Wednesday morning.

She warned of "rationing of health care across vast areas of the province" and raised the spectre of Saultites having to go out of town for more procedures. "This model does not fit Northern Ontario at all."

Preliminary details of the new funding plans were released last winter. Although the exact formula is still being worked out, a portion of funding will be based on the volume of procedures a hospital does.

In an interview with The Sault Star, Matthews agreed it will be a fundamental shift, but said it will translate into more incentive for hospitals to provide better patient care, not the opposite.

Currently, if a hospital "does 100 appendectomies or 300 appendectomies, they get the same amount of dollars. What we're saying now is, the more you do, the more you get paid," Matthews said from Toronto.

"Now we have a situation that in order to balance budget, they have to cut services ... That's not what we want to have in place. What we will have is an incentive to actually do more."

The idea is not entirely new in Ontario. For the last six years, hospitals have been given extra if they managed to perform more procedures, such as knee-and-hip replace-m ent and cataract surgery, and drive down waiting times.

The method was largely successful across the province, including at Sault Area Hospital. Cataract surgery dropped from a wait of 116 days in 2005 to 76 in May-July 2010, compared to a current provincial average of 116 days and a LHIN average of 107 days. SAH also has some of the shortest wait times for MRIs and CT scans in the province, although it lags behind for hip and knee replacements.

Matthews said the new funding formula will build on that wait-time strategy. She acknowledged certain hospitals will have certain strengths, but said they "don't anticipate" people in remote centres will lose services.

"We're looking to improve health care for people, and we do recognize that in a place like the Sault, it's important that a wide range of services be offered, in the Sault."

She also stressed small and rural hospitals, such as Matthews Memorial on St. Joseph Island, will not be included in the modified funding model, and added a "certain percentage" of hospital budgets will remain global, with the remainder based on volumes.

Orazietti also weighed in, sending a press release before the meeting started. The new model will "provide a clearer and more equitable set of guidelines to more effectively allocate funding," he said in the release.

"One of the major problems with the existing funding model is that it does not provide a strong business case for providers to improve quality or efficiency, and often can encourage providers to cut services in times of fiscal restraint rather than rewarding real efficiency improvements at the patient level."

He accused the "NDP-led" health coalition of instilling fear in people "in an effort to gain political points at the expense of improving health-care services in our community."

The OHC, whose membership includes the Ontario Federation of Labour, previously led a campaign against the way construction of the new hospital was funded.

Mehra was in London, Ont., Thursday and will be in Sudbury on Saturday.

© 2010 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.


Sept 24

Lack of beds is the problem

The Welland Tribune
Mon Sep 20 2010  
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Column: Letters to the Editor

The headlines read "Ambulance off-load delay rate soars." Paramedics are spending huge amounts of time waiting in ERs to unload their patients -- sometimes up to six and eight hours.

This reduces the amount of time the ambulance can be on the road and "resources become critically compromised," according to the recent Niagara EMS report.

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Some regional councillors would have us believe it is a lack of funding, but this is not true.

Due to an increase of funding from the region of $3.1 million, EMS was able to purchase five new ambulances and 22 new staff members.

If you read the EMS report you will see the problem with off-load delays is the lack of beds as spelled out in the executive summary of the report.

Despite all the initiatives Niagara Health System has tried to implement, "the offload delays continue to climb" and restructuring of hospital emergency departments in Port Colborne and Fort Erie have increased off-load delays at the other three sites significantly.

Did you know the NHS is planning on cutting another 41 beds in the coming year? Read this in the Hamilton Niagara Halton Brant Local Health Integration Networkreport on complex care.

In a nutshell, this is why Niagara residents deserve an investigation of the NHS and a review of the chaos the HIP (hospital improvement plan) is creating.

Pat Scholfield Port Colborne

© 2010 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.


Sept. 22

High Level Briefings & Summits
on Hospital Restructuring

OHC Plans for New Public Hospitals Act
 and Market-Style Changes to Hospital Funding

In the U.K., it catapulted large hospitals into near-bankruptcies and helped spawn massive protests that saw thousands gather outside Westminster. It vastly increased administrative costs and brought in multinational for-profit clinics. What is it?

It is a major change in funding systems for hospitals that the Ontario government has announced it is introducing this year. Variously called “patient-centred funding”, “payment for procedure” and “activity based funding”, the plan is to move more of hospital funding from block grants to fee-for-service.

The vision is the opposite of relatively comprehensive local hospitals.  The idea is to force hospitals to focus on services for which they can pump out higher volumes – ie. force centralization of services into fewer hospitals. Local hospitals would have less discretion in the services they provide, driven by funding levers held by Queen’s Park in Toronto. Those that cannot provide high volumes of certain services at a defined price would have to give up those services and focus on others. Pressure to conform to the cheapest rates – or “efficiencies” – puts pressure on the services that Queen’s Park does not deem to be priorities. 

This funding system provides the basis for full-scale privatization of clinical hospital services. It means significant workforce pressures and new instability in funding. It sets the context for hospital competitive bidding and other damaging “market-style” reforms. It will drive up administrative costs and further damage the comprehensiveness of local hospital care.

The Ontario Health Coalition has researched the implications of this new funding model and is organizing a series of regional “summits” to provide a full briefing on the issues and an opportunity to discuss ways to respond.


Conrad's Editorial


Conrad Noel, Herb John  & Shirley Roebuck  from SOS attended this Summit in London on Thursday, Sept. 23.  



Sept. 8

Letter to the Editor     The Chatham-Kent Daily Post (


Why is no one listening?

If you want to know about what needs to be done with local health care then ask the people in the community who need and depend on it. Over the last couple of weeks here is what we have learned (as you read this keep in mind our local LHIN and Provincial Government tell us there is no more money for critical local health care services in our communities):
1.      The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) was going to pay (until they heard the backlash) Disney $9,500 for a 90 minute speech at an upcoming conference;

2.      The part- time LHIN Board took home $246,000 in compensation and expenses in one year which included a 29% increase in compensation for the Chairperson alone;

3.      The local LHIN chewed up $4.6 million in administrative expenses per year;

4.      Now the LHIN tells us they will spend $1.5 million on yet another hospital review study (remember the Hay report). As if this was not bad enough the LHIN Board approved this expensive study AFTER the study had already began;

5.      The Ontario Ombudsman reported that all LHINs were guilty of holding illegal secret meetings on emergency room and hospital closures – we knew this locally a long time ago but the local LHIN always denied it; and,

6.      Finally, the legislation governing LHINs states that a mandatory review of the LHINs is to take place – a review that is sorely needed but a review the provincial government has now delayed.  

So the next time the LHIN or the provincial government or even local MPPs tell you there is no more money ask them why they waste so much on non health care costs when this money could and should be redirected to where it needs to go – local health care practitioners and local health care services in our local communities.
If they would only listen.
Jeff Wesley


Sept. 8


From today’s Peterborough Examiner ( 

 Hospital CEO Ken Tremblay getting a 13% pay hike plus performance bonus, city councillor says

Local News

By BRENDAN WEDLEY/Examiner Municipal Writer

The city will ask the Peterborough Regional Health Centre board chairwoman about the hospital president's salary after a city councillor revealed Tuesday the medical community is upset with speculation that the head of the facility is getting a 13% pay increase.

The medical community has heard that Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) president and CEO Ken Tremblay is getting a 13% pay increase and he will be in line for a "very large" bonus if he meets certain targets by cutting jobs and services, Coun. Bob Hall said during a city council meeting.

"It's a community issue. It's serious," he said.

PRHC spokesman Jonathan Bennett told The Examiner he couldn't comment on Hall's statements Tuesday night.

Hall told council that he's not hearing about the salary speculation from the nurses' union or other union representatives from the hospital. The local medical community is talking about the situation at the hospital, he said.

Hall asked city staff to contact the Central East Local Health Integration Network and the hospital's chairwoman about the hospital president's salary.

He pointed out the provincial government has pledged to freeze public sector salaries.

City chief administrator Linda Reed told council she would contact the hospital board chairwoman.

Paul Darby, who retired as the PRHC president and CEO on Dec. 18, was paid $364,275 last year. His salary was $310,983 in 2008 and $269,419 in 2007.

Tremblay become the top administrator at the hospital on Feb. 1. His salary has not been disclosed.

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act requires provincially funded employers to disclose the names, positions, salaries and taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more for the previous year by March 31.

The hospital is cutting jobs and beds under a plan to eliminate its deficit — the largest of any hospital in Ontario — over the next two years following a peer review ordered by the Central East LHIN.

— With files from Nicole Riva


Conrad's Editorial

Isn't it obvious that there is something wrong?    Highly paid CEO's that get  bonuses if they reduce  deficits by cutting jobs and beds in the very same way that Tremblay destroyed Sydendenham District Hospital. How many years will it take us to undo what Tremblay did to SDH?   No one listens or cares at the provincial/MOH/Board level.

Board members should be elected by the community then they will be accountable and not simply rubber stampers.


Sept. 2

From today’s Windsor Star ( and Wallaceburg Courier Press. 


Stop wasting taxpayers' money


By Shirley Roebuck, Windsor Star September 2, 2010


I read with amusement the comments about the Erie St. Clair LHIN, and its plan to hire Disney corporation executives to speak at a LHIN event. These plans were cancelled only when the premier stepped in, saying this was a waste of taxpayers' dollars.


Now the Erie St.Clair LHIN is going to pay Deloitte consultants $1.5 million to review the LHIN's hospitals.


Brad Keeler of the Erie St. Clair LHIN stated, "There is definitely not as much money to operate the way you used to operate," referring to hospitals. He continued, "Let's all work together and learn together." The citizens of the Erie St. Clair LHIN have learned enough.


Gary Switzer recently said that he did not believe the public was stupid enough to believe Conservative leader Tim Hudak's words regarding the LHIN's dysfunction. Surely, Dalton McGuinty cannot be stupid enough to allow this LHIN system to continue.


Think, Mr. McGuinty, of the money that could be used for health care, instead of funding guest speakers from the Disney Corporation, yet another review of the area's hospitals and the bloated salaries and bonuses of the LHIN's executives.


The premier should remember that he and his Liberal government were elected to serve the people, not tear apart Ontario's health care system and waste hard-earned tax dollars.


Does this seem like this is what the people of Ontario want? Does this seem like a solid plan for re-election?


Please contact your MPPs and the premier's office and tell them what you, as a resident of Ontario, want for health care.


Shirley Roebuck,

Subject: letter to the editor

Posted  Sept. 1

 I very much enjoyed reading your recent editorial “A Mickey Mouse idea” (Wallaceburg Courier Press, August 26).

 The Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) must have been paying attention because they promptly scrapped the $9,500 plan to have two Disney consultants give a 90-minute presentation at their meeting at Caesars Windsor casino later this month.

 It is little wonder that Ontario Ombudsman Andre Martin stated that they are “lacking in public confidence” is his recently released scathing report “The LHIN Spin”.  He was particularly critical of the LHINs for adopting illegal by-laws to meet behind closed doors.

The local LHIN Board Chair stated all closed meeting were strictly to educate board members about aspects of the healthcare system.  This is the same Board Chair who replied “I don’t think it’s a lot of money” when asked to comment on receiving a massive $54,075 in per diem payments last year for her part-time job.  Many struggling families in our community would disagree.

Community members attended each open board meeting that discussed the future of our emergency department but were excluded from a September 22, 2009 closed meeting that discussed the “Small Community Hospital Emergency Department Study” which recommended the closure in Wallaceburg.  The LHIN refused of offer a rational for conducting that meeting without public scrutiny.

The Ombudsman went on to state in his report that “We also determined that hospital planning is so erratic, so short-term and short-sighted, that the risk of closure of needed services in small and rural hospitals is now very high”.

 The closure of the acute-care medical beds in Wallaceburg last year is a practical example of that risk; a decision that was made with no community consultation and supported by local LHIN CEO.

 In response to recent allegations of withholding information the LHIN CEO, who was paid $313,119 last year, stated that he did not believe the public was “stupid enough” to believe those criticisms.

It is disturbing when disrespect is heaped on communities such as ours, whose only concern is ongoing access to a vital healthcare services.  The province should immediately review the priorities and poor decisions of this bloated health care bureaucracy.

 Jim Hasson

Wallaceburg ON


Sept. 1

Recruiting doctors to Petrolia a challenge, task force says

Local News  Sarnia Observer


The Observer

It's a tough sell to bring new doctors to Petrolia and beef up ER coverage, say officials with the Sarnia-Lambton Physician Recruitment Task Force.

Since its inception in 2001, the task force has attracted 16 family physicians to Sarnia-Lambton. Two have opted to locate in rural areas of the county, specifically St. Clair Township and Wyoming. None have chosen Petrolia.

"We have heavily promoted Petrolia all the way along, especially when we talk to doctors who want to downsize their practice," said task force chairperson Ron Prior.

The task force offers financial incentives to doctors who relocate to Sarnia-Lambton and sign a four-year agreement to practise full-time.

Numerous potential recruits have toured Petrolia and considered opening an office there but several factors have dissuaded them, said Cindy Scholten, the task force recruiter.

She said those factors include:

• doctors prefer to be closer to the border;

• their spouse may not be attracted to rural life;

• doctors prefer to join a group of family physicians and walk into a "turnkey" office; and

• young doctors want to specialize in certain areas of medicine and can't get the time or space to do that at Petrolia's hospital.

"We've surveyed young medical students and those interested in a family practice say they want to specialize on the side and need time in a procedure room at the hospital," said Prior. "They see the need for more family doctors in rural communities but they go to where they can specialize."

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Petrolia to add to its roster of family physicians who can help to keep Bluewater Health's CEE Hospital emergency department open 24 hours a day.

Bluewater Health's board of directors has endorsed a plan to shut the Petrolia ER down nightly from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. starting Sept. 29 because there aren't enough physicians to cover shifts around the clock.

Neither the hospital, the physicians or the community wants to lose Petrolia's 24-hour emergency department but all say there is no choice unless new doctors come to town.

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network is reviewing the proposal but, so far, no options or solutions have been suggested.

"The task force and the Chamber of Commerce extended an offer to Bluewater Health to help," said Scholten. "But the hospital said it was their mandate."

While the task force focuses on attracting new family doctors, the hospital focuses on attracting new specialists to work at Bluewater Health.

The task force was established at a time when Sarnia-Lambton was drastically underserviced.

The area needs 18 more family physicians, Scholten said.


Local News

On Thursday, August  26th the CLV Group organized a Community BBQ in the parking lot of one of the large apartment buidings they own on Wallace Street.  SOS was invited to set up a table which was to  provide an opportunity for those renting apartments and the public to hear about SOS and the work that is done to protect our Sydenham Hospital.   I represented SOS at this Community event.

Everything was free to the public. They had a BBQ, food, soft drinks and water, games for children and beautiful gifts to be won. 

Donations were accepted by SOS  with CLV matching what was collected.  The donations collected was $196.00 with a matched amount of $196.00 by CLV for a total of  $392.00.  Thank you to all who donated. Thank you CLV for your contribution.

I would personally like to thank Dave, CEO of CLV, Jeff Barnes ,Manager of CLV apartments on Wallace Street and Margaret Ave as well as Mary Jane Jacobs, Residential Rental Consultant for their hard work and their invitation to involve SOS in this first year event.  It was a great success.

Conrad Noel, SOS Vice Chairman


Posted Sat. August 28th

From Wednesday’s Sarnia Observer ( (August 25th)

LHIN approves $1.5M for hospital review


An overall review of Erie St. Clair's five hospitals is expected to be completed in December.

The Local Health Integration Network heard a report on the matter during Tuesday's board meeting.

Deloitte is the consultant for the review, which will determine the best ways to provide care, as well as improve efficiency.

However, board members had to retroactively approve the $1.5 million price tag, as the project began in July.

Brad Keeler, senior director of performance, contracts and allocation, said the procurement process took longer than expected.

He also said the cost had changed.

"We hoped to begin (the project) back in March," he said.

Keeler said a review of all the hospitals is an appropriate way of dealing with various issues.

He noted that hospitals face many common financial challenges, such as more patients and inflation.

"There is definitely not as much money as you need to operate the way you used to operate," he said. "Let's all work together and let's learn together."

Some board members questioned why the motion to approve funding was brought forward late.

David Wright, board vice-chairperson, said there had been a previous conference call concerning the project.

"This could have been handled with a telephone meeting of the whole board," he said.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, members heard of the new "stocktake" method of presenting performance indicators to the board, as well as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

"It's a more rigorous, focused process," Keeler said. "(With) more indicators of the system and how it's working or not working."

Article ID# 2728080


Conrad's editorial comments:

With a $5-million budget and a staff of what – thirty? – the ESC LHIN have to spend $1.5-million on a consultant to review hospitals? What on earth do these people do? And then the Board retroactively approving it?  Everything is getting more and more ridiculous. 

Also, a conference call instead of an emergency meeting to deal with this critical issue, just does NOT make any sense. 

Are the ES LHIN Directors pawns for the ES LHIN administration?   I am getting to wonder.


 August 28

From today’s Windsor Star. The Observer ran a similar story today.

Tories turn up heat on health agency

Chairwoman should resign, opposition says

Ontario Conservatives are demanding the resignation of local health integration network chairwoman Mina Grossman-Ianni, who said the $54,000 she received last year for her part-time position is not "a lot of money."

Outrage from the opposition over Grossman-Ianni's comment came on the same day Erie St. Clair LHIN CEO Gary Switzer issued an apology for saying the public is not "stupid enough" to believe Conservative Leader Tim Hudak's "crap" and attacks on the beleaguered agency.

On Friday, MPP Bob Bailey (PC -- Sarnia-Lambton) blasted Grossman-Ianni, who received just over $54,000 in per diem payments in 2009 -- 29 per cent more than the previous year.

In an interview with The Star's Anne Jarvis, Grossman-Ianni said: "I don't think it's a lot of money."

"While $54,000 for a part-time job may not seem like a lot of money to Ms. Grossman-Ianni, patients in the Erie St. Clair LHIN know better," Bailey said in a news release.

Grossman-Ianni was "unreachable on the issue," LHIN spokesman Ron Sheppard said Friday.

Switzer, who's vacationing this week, also couldn't be reached for an interview, but he issued a written mea culpa Friday, offering his "sincerest apologies to the people of Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton and Windsor-Essex" -- the LHIN's coverage areas.

In an interview Wednesday, Switzer lashed out at Hudak, who has accused the Erie St. Clair LHIN of covering up Windsor pathology errors and blasted the agency for holding closed-door "educational" board meetings.

"Let's be very clear -- this guy is making this crap up and it's false. I don't think the public is stupid enough to believe him," Switzer told The Star.

In his apology he wrote: "These comments were inappropriate and do not reflect my view of the communities I serve," Switzer wrote in his apology.

"Although there is much negativity about our role in health care, I would like to stress that we are getting positive results," as examples shorter wait times for emergency care and procedures like hip and knee replacements.

The Erie St. Clair LHIN has been under intense scrutiny since Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin released a scathing report two weeks ago, blasting a bylaw that allowed the province's 14 LHINs to hold what he deemed illegal closed-door board meetings for education purposes.

The LHINs are charged with co-ordinating and funding health care services in their jurisdictions and their introduction in 2005 was touted as the solution to the centralized health care decision-making process at Queen's Park.

But critics call them bloated, ineffective bureaucracies that divert public dollars away from front-line health care.

The provincial Tories have been launching attacks on the LHIN system almost daily since the release of the ombudsman's report.

They point out that the $54,000 paid out to Grossman-Ianni could have covered a year's salary for a rookie nurse, 154 wheelchairs, 27 MRI exams or 1,350 pairs of crutches.

Bailey said Grossman-Ianni has donated $2,422 to the Ontario Liberal Party since 2003, and that her compensation is a "waste" of $54,000.

Per diems for the rest of the Erie St. Clair LHIN board, on which former president of the Windsor & District Labour Council, Gary Parent, sits, totalled $64,450 last year. The board also received $127,811 for expenses.

Switzer, who headed up Virgin Mobile Canada and was an executive with Cogeco Cable Inc. before he was named the Erie St. Clair LHIN CEO in 2005, made more than $313,000 last year, including performance bonuses.

This week, the LHIN pulled a $9,500 Disney presentation from its upcoming annual conference in Windsor after critics responded with outrage.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star



August 27, 2010

From today’s online Sarnia Observer (

Bailey calls for LHIN chairperson to resign

Local News

Posted By Cathy Dobson

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey is calling for the chairperson of the Erie St. Clair LHIN to resign over comments made by Mina Grossman-Ianni about her compensation.

Grossman-Ianni received $54,075 in per diem payments last year, a 29% increase over the year before.

She is on the record saying,"I don't think it's a lot of money."

Bailey said Friday Grossman-Ianni's comments are "outrageous."

"While $54,000 for a part-time job may not seem like a lot of money to Ms. Grossman-Ianni, patients in the Erie St. Clair LHIN know better," Bailey said. "At a time when health care services across the Erie St. Clair LHIN are being threatened, it's outrageous to suggest that it is acceptable to waste $54,000 for a Liberal donor to cash out."

The LHIN chairperson has donated $2,422 to the Ontario Liberal Party since 2003, according to Bailey's office.

Her position with the Local Health Integration Network is by provincial appointment.

Article ID# 2732619


Editorial from today’s print edition of the Windsor Star. 

Just a little stupid

The Windsor Star August 27, 2010

When Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak lashed out at the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network for allegedly withholding information, CEO Gary Switzer had this to say:

"Let's be very clear -- this guy is making this crap up and it's false. I don't think the public is stupid enough to believe him."

Aside from the fact Switzer's comments were inappropriate and unprofessional, we have to wonder if he believes the people served by the LHIN are somehow lacking in intelligence.

If we're not "stupid enough" to believe the criticisms of Tory Leader Hudak, does that mean we're only moderately stupid? With practice, could we achieve a level of stupidity that might be more acceptable?

We're not trying to be facetious. We are simply pointing out that Mr. Switzer's unfortunate response does nothing to assure citizens he understands the real and legitimate concerns they have about the Erie-St. Clair LHIN.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star


Augsut 27

Time to rein in LHINs

By Anne Jarvis, The Windsor Star

'Let's be very clear -- this guy is making this crap up," Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, snapped Wednesday after another attack by Tory leader Tim Hudak.

Well, I'm not making this up. Mina Grossman-Ianni, chairwoman of the local LHIN, received a whopping $54,075 in per diem payments last year -- 29 per cent more than the previous year.

Per diems for the rest of the board, including a vice-chairman and seven directors, totalled $64,450. The entire board also received $127,811 for expenses. Grand total: almost a quarter of a million dollars.

"That's offensive," said a source high up in local health care.

"I don't think it's a lot of money," Grossman-Ianni said of her stipend.

It's outrageous. LHINs are supposed to save the health care system money. Board appointments are part-time positions. The few people in the public who actually know what a LHIN is (it co-ordinates and funds local health care) assume board members are volunteers.

As chairwoman, Grossman-Ianni gets $350 a day. The vice-chair gets $250 and board members $200. They are also reimbursed for expenses like mileage and meals. Some meetings last all day, Grossman-Ianni said. If she works part of the day, she charges part of the stipend. She made more last year because she worked more.

By contrast, local hospital board members get a cheap dinner at meetings. That's it.

By the way, LHIN board members are appointed by the Ontario government, which is odd since LHINs are supposed to provide local control over health care. Hospital board appointments are decided locally.

Switzer was paid $313,119 last year. But he wants to set the record straight. That was because he received one of his bonuses a year late. His actual salary is only $260,000. However, he's eligible for a 14 per cent performance bonus. He's received that bonus every year - notwithstanding the recent scathing report on Ontario's 14 LIHNs by provincial ombudsman Andre Marin.

Switzer's pay was $222,696 three years ago. He's moving up -- fast.

Seven of the LHIN's staff made Ontario's Sunshine List of provincial employees paid more than $100,000 a year. Every year, there has been one more person on the list.

The LHIN spent a total of $4.6 million on administration last year. That's a lot of money that could go toward the much-needed second cardiac catheterization lab.

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj makes $265,000, substantially less than Switzer and his bonus, and as Musyj likes to point out, he hasn't had an increase since 2007. The hospital's entire non-union staff has had their pay frozen for two years. And hospitals, unlike LHINs, actually treat patients.

These fiefdoms were created in 2007 to control spiralling health care costs by rationalizing services and to provide communities with more say in their services. But they haven't done a good job at either mandate.

It takes three contracts to get a patient at home a bath, says health policy analyst Dr. Michael Rachlis of the University of Toronto.

The LHIN contracts with the Community Care Access Centre, which arranges home care.

The CCAC contracts with a home care service, and the service contracts with health care workers. There are lots of boards and CEOs in this system.

Other provinces think it's "pretty stupid," said Rachlis.

The Erie-St. Clair LHIN is working on rationalizing services at the five hospitals it covers in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton. It's paying a consultant $1.5 million to tell it what to do. The job was "beyond the resources" of the LHIN, said Switzer.

LHINs also don't include public health boards or even many doctors, Rachlis said. It's hard to plan health care without public health boards and doctors.

LHINs don't have much real power, either, he said. The province and the hospitals have the power. There was scant mention of the local LHIN when all hell broke loose at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital recently. That's telling.

Switzer says his LHIN tries hard to engage the community, organizing public meetings and focus groups. So why doesn't anyone know what a LHIN is? Three-quarters of the community probably doesn't know what it is, said my source.

Illegal, secret board meetings at LHINs across Ontario, exposed by the ombudsman, showed only contempt for the idea of consulting the community. So did the responses by Switzer and local chairwoman Grossman-Ianni, who defended the meetings.

The province -- acting a year after seeing Marin's draft report -- had to tell them to stop.

We shouldn't abolish LHINs, like Hudak wants. With health care consuming 40 per cent of Ontario's budget and an aging population, we need to rationalize services, and local communities should have a say. But the first thing to be restructured, it's clear, is the LHINs.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star


  August 27


Local News



QMI Agency

The Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network has scrapped a controversial $9,500 plan to conjure the magic of Disney into leadership training at its second annual conference, Sept. 27 in Windsor.

Two consultants from the entertainment giant were set to speak for 90 minutes at the conference at Caesars Windsor hotel and convention centre.

But due to mounting pressure from government and opposition leaders, that scheme is up in smoke.

"Obviously there's been sensitivities right now about spending in health care and issues such as this," said Ron Sheppard, the LHIN's engagement consultant.

Ontario's 14 LHINs came under scrutiny this month, following a scathing report from provincial Ombudsman, Andre Marin, criticizing their lack of transparency and accountability.

The conference agenda will now focus on quality and patient experience, Sheppard said.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, a Conservative, said he's glad the LHIN did the right thing.

"These guys, I don't know where they get their ideas from," he said. "It seems like there's a culture of entitlement to go out and waste, spend, money like this."

The decision was made Wednesday morning, Sheppard said, and was made locally.

"We received feedback that the decision was ours," he said, when asked if the move was a directive from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

When asked if it was a mistake to enlist Disney consultants, Sheppard said Disney's record speaks for itself.

"They do training across the globe and have received accolades for their training," he said.

The Ontario Hospital Association used Disney at a conference earlier this year.

"It's not that they're irrelevant," Sheppard said. "Unfortunately the environment right now is such that it wouldn't be prudent to do that."

Keynote speakers at the day-long event include Michael Decter, a former deputy health minister and author of several books on health reform, and Ontario's current deputy minister of health, Saad Rafi.

Approximately 400 physicians, administrators and frontline staff are expected to attend.

Anyone wishing to go can register for $125. A bus is available to take Sarnia-Lambton residents to Windsor.

Article ID# 2730918


August 25, 2010

From today’s Toronto Star ( The Courier Press also did this week’s editorial on this story as well

$9,500 Disney consultants too goofy for McGuinty

Talk about a Mickey Mouse operation.

A scheme to spread Disney magic in the hopes of empowering a provincial health network was just too goofy for Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The Liberals moved swiftly once they discovered the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) hired two Disney consultants to give a $9,500 keynote address at their upcoming Sept. 27 meeting at the Caesars Windsor hotel and convention centre.

A government source called it an "inappropriate use of taxpayer’s funds." The southern Ontario network first got a call from Queen’s Park advising them to scrap the address last week. The message was delivered again Tuesday.

But it wasn’t going to be Disney’s first foray into Ontario health care — the Ontario Hospital Association used Disney expertise for an all-day conference in downtown Toronto in May.

The LHINs came under intense scrutiny this month after the provincial ombudsman revealed one of the 14 bodies held "illegal" secret meetings to make decisions about emergency room closures and hospital restructuring. Opposition leaders have called for the current LHIN system to be abolished.

Created by former health minister George Smitherman to make community-based decisions on how to spend $21.5 billion in health care dollars, the LHINs employ nearly 300 people. In 2009/10 the LHINs spent $80 million on operation expenses such as wages, office rent and equipment.

The Disney Institute presentation was booked by the LHIN to provide a keynote address about "change management and leadership", said Ron Sheppard, a spokesperson for the network. "This isn’t about Mickey Mouse. Disney is one of the most successful corporations in the world."

Gary Switzer, chief executive officer of the LHIN, said a "team decision" was made to cancel the Disney contract late Tuesday or early Wednesday. .

Calling this an "incredible" and shocking use of taxpayers’ funds, NDP MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) said the LHIN operators seem to have a sense of entitlement surrounding public money.

"They don’t learn. They have no respect for taxpayers’ money," Gelinas said from Sudbury. "Why did it take the premier’s office to phone them? How come no one had the good judgment to see that this was not right?"

The optics of this is truly awful, agreed Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka). "What does Disney have to do with health care?" he asked. "At a time when the ombudsman has released a scathing report on LHINs, you’d think they would be more considerate with health care dollars."

The Ontario Hospital Association, a group representing 157 provincial hospital corporations, used Disney for an all-day conference on May 25 at Toronto’s Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel.

The hospital association billed the day-long event as "Disney’s Approach to Excellence" and offered seminars on people management, quality service and inspiring creativity with Disney "cast members".

Christopher McPherson of the OHA would not say how much it paid for the event.

Promotional material from the Disney Institute notes its professional development team is available for 90-minute keynote presentations at a cost of $10,900 within North America (although the LHIN would have paid $9,500). Topics available for discussion include "Leading Through Turbulent Times, Change Leadership and Inspiration to Innovation."

In Windsor, about 400 people are expected to attend the Caesars LHIN conference, said Sheppard. The official glossy program promoting the now cancelled Disney session is billed as "one-of-a-kind," providing an opportunity to hear the Disney story of leadership that began with Walt Disney himself.

With Disney now gone, there will still be two other keynote addresses. One is by health guru Michael Decter, a former Ontario deputy health minister and past Health Council of Canada chair, and, the other by Saad Rafi, Ontario’s current deputy minister of health and long-term care.



August 23, 2010

How to heal health delivery

Micheal Rachlis

There are rising concerns about the LHINs, Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks. On Aug. 10, Ombudsman André Marin accused at least some of the 14 LHINs of counting board members’ golf course and supermarket conversations toward their "community engagement" goals. In the past year several communities, including Niagara and Peterborough, have mobilized to fight planned LHIN reductions of hospital services.

Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has promised to dissolve the LHINs. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath more cautiously has called for a review and a moratorium on hospital restructuring.

At least some of the criticism of the LHINs is legitimate. However, all health systems in all jurisdictions have some regional approaches to planning. Not every town got a TB sanatorium in the 1920s or cobalt bombs for cancer in the 1940s. And the ministry strictly doles out cardiac or neurosurgery units now.

In 1974, Dr. Fraser Mustard’s Task Force recommended the creation of district health councils and local ministry operational units. Then-premier Bill Davis only established the district health councils as voluntary planning bodies. Thirteen years later, Dr. John Evans recommended a series of integrated regional models for Ontario to consider. Over the years, premiers David Peterson, Bob Rae, Mike Harris and Ernie Eves punted these ideas. Meanwhile, every other province created regional authorities. Finally in 2006, Premier Dalton McGuinty established the 14 LHINs.

Of course, government policies are mainly driven by politics, not necessarily good evidence. So why bother learning the evidence? Stephen Harper and Tony Clement’s cancellation of the long-form census has taken this attitude to new lows. And, partly because of this attitude, there is little rigorous evidence on the performance of the Ontario LHINs and other Canadian regional models.

However, it is safe to say that Ontario's approach to LHINs is unwieldy. In other provinces, regional authorities directly deliver the vast majority of home-care services with their own staff. In Ontario, there are three levels of contracts before the patient gets a bath. The LHINs contract with community care access centres for home-care services. Then the CCACs send out RFPs (request for proposals) and eventually sign contracts with various for-profit and non-profit entities. Then the home-care agency signs contracts with individual workers, most of whom are non-unionized. The Ontario high foreheads cite this "purchaser provider split" as if it were a biblical prohibition. Other provinces cite this approach as proof of Ontario’s pride-goeth-before-the-fall exceptionalism.

The other provinces also at least had the political leadership to disestablish most of their hospital boards. The McGuinty government judged that Ontarians would resist a similar step here. However, as a result the LHINs are seen as just another administrative tier. And, partly because other corporate boards remained, the LHINs have very few expert human resources with which to fulfill their immense job descriptions.

Finally, the LHINs legislation doesn’t mention public health and there is little coordination between public health and the rest of the health system. The province’s H1N1 flu management problems last fall reflected this lack of integration.

Something will happen to the LHINs, probably after the next election. And, every other province has at least tinkered with their regional models.

Here’s some advice to the government as it reviews the LHINs and the governance of Ontario’s health-care system: Start with form following function. Some services, like cardiac care, cancer and emergency services need top-down command and control. Some services, like care of the frail elderly and health promotion, beg for freewheeling bottom-up, democratic, non-profit entrepreneurship.

In B.C., the provincial health services agency coordinates eight specialized agencies, including the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Cancer Care Ontario plays a similar role for oncology services and could be a model for a provincial health agency in this province.

Ontario’s 80 community health centres are governed by elected community boards and typically engage hundreds of their residents every year. And that’s not counting chats in line at Tims!

Quebec’s 95 local health boards and England’s 151 Primary Care Trusts are much closer to their communities than Ontario’s 14 LHINs. Ontario should consider establishing democratic control at the local primary health-care level, where most health is delivered.

Finally, regional level governance could be established building on local primary health-care boards.

The LHINs have been a baby step to better integration. Ontario should review its regional model and then reorganize the governance of the health system to balance efficiency, effectiveness and community participation.

Dr. Michael Rachlis is a health policy analyst and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.


August 20

No sympathy for 'bloated bureaucrats'

News pointofview


Tim Hudak and the provincial Tories call Local Health Integration Networks "bloated bureaucracy." And local LHIN CEO Gary Switzer doesn't like such nomenclature.

Too bad.

Maybe "high-priced insulators" is a more apt term. But it's likely one Switzer and his cronies won't like much either.

That's what LHINs are: organizations that enact health-care policy drawn up in Queen's Park, many kilometres away from small-town Ontario, and drastically out of touch.

The LHIN regurgitates policy, looking for ways to cut costs a la Queen's Park big-city, cookie-cutter approach without seeing what kind of damage to the communities could result. Think back to the potential ER closures at small rural hospitals such as those in Petrolia and Wallaceburg. In 2009, the Hay Report -- commissioned by the local LHIN -- recommended ER closures in these facilities. Backlash by the public and health-care professionals helped defer any action. It was so negatively charged towards the LHIN and the government, and there were other such issues elsewhere in the province, that the government actually stepped in and formed its rural and northern health-care panel in the summer of 2009 to examine the state of health care outside urban Ontario.

Nice, job, budget facilitator, er, LHIN.

Switzer is well compensated. In fact, in 2009, the year the LHIN sought to club the ERs in two of the rural hospitals in its region, he earned bonuses from his employer, the government, that brought his salary up past the $313,000 mark. He made more in 2009 than the prime minister.

Having a CEO making three times the Sunshine Club threshold does sound a bit bloated, doesn't it?

Need we mention the two senior directors at the LHIN who pocketed more than $154,000 each in 2009, or the senior consultant that walked away with more than $119,000 that year?

Extrapolate that to the 13 other LHINs in Ontario.

Switzer said anyone calling the LHINs a waste of money isn't seeing the big picture, as the Erie-St. Clair LHIN has an operating cost of $4.6 million, but administers a budget of $954 million. True. But that budget is to hospital groups with equally bloated bureaucracies. Directors of miniscule departments make six figures and a hospital CEO, who few people were sad to see head east earlier this year, pocketed more than $285,000 in 2009.

Need we remind these bloated bureaucrats and their bureaucracies that the average family income in Chatham-Kent -- yes, family, not individual -- is $67,500?

When you individually take home more than 4.5 times what the average family in C-K does, and those hardworking folks are paying your salary through taxes, you are bloated.

Article ID# 2721208


August 13

Letter to the Editor


Sir:  You may remember the song, "Stop the World and Let Me Off." To the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), I say stop the Imagine Project and let Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) off and out.

Someone, anyone, everyone on the Imagine Steering Committee lend me your ear, yes, I mean the tri-board of directors, the ESC LHIN and hospital management.

On July 2, 3, 4, the Wallaceburg District Secondary School (WDSS) held its 60th anniversary reunion. The school was built in 1950, its first expansion took place in 1967, and there have been a few add-ons since. There is not an inkling of any Imagine planning to address the needs of this "aging facility." Yet the school houses our young people, Canada's future!

Of course, WDSS has been the recipient of continuing love, care and upkeep.

Now hear this! SDH was built in 1956 and in 1967 an expansion doubled its floor space.

Respectfully, I question triboard executive committee chair, Jennifer Wilson's, "Our facilities date back 50 years and have served us well, but we need new facilities that support modern health-care delivery and will be there for us long into the future."

How long? How far into the future? And what "modern" health care will it deliver in Wallaceburg?

Will you return the ultrasound machine the Alliance moved to Chatham? Or perhaps the 20 acute care/medical beds CKHA removed July 2009? Will the ESC LHIN assure us that the six ICU beds will make it back to Wallaceburg, and reassure us that the emergency room will stay open forever?

Surely the "new facility" will house Sydenham's own modern telephone system to go along with modern health-care delivery? I'm just asking, mind you.

Health care, modern and otherwise, is about people, not buildings. It is, and always must be about sick folk, injured people, doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, lab techs, radiologists, specialists, and equipment bringing health and healing to people in their own communities.

Role 3 Multinational Hospital is located on the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. The facility is made out of freight containers, plywood, duct tape and wires. The hospital treats not just soldiers, but local Afghan children and adults who arrive with head injuries, limbs blown off, burns, chest wounds and on it goes. The sound of choppers announces the arrival of multiple casualties and seemingly never stop. The Canadian Military Medical staff are on call 24/7 for six-month tours of duty. This is delivering modern health care!

Don't Imagine. Just do it. Deliver health care, not bricks and mortar, and take good care of the buildings already under your management.

The sign in front of a local business reads "No price increase in three years due to efficiency." Imagine what the ESC LHIN could do with its $1 billion budget if efficiency was the mindset of the CEO.

-- Anne Stewart Wallaceburg

Article ID# 2712826


August 12

LHIN to end closed meetings


The Observer

A policy that has allowed monthly closed meetings over the past five years will immediately be taken off the books, says the chairperson of the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Mina Grossman-Ianni said Wednesday her organization, which holds the purse strings for health care services in Sarnia-Lambton, has responded to a scathing report released earlier this week by Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin.

Marin's research found that all LHINs work under a provincial bylaw that allows board members to have education sessions behind closed doors. He called the meetings illegal.

"Unfortunately, this practice is antithetical to the LHIN model," Marin wrote in his report. "It serves to undermine the integrity and credibility of the LHIN's decision-making and, in my view, is simply illegal."

"I was surprised by the tone of the first portion of the report," said Grossman-Ianni. "I was amazed by some of the words he used like 'illegal.'

"Those meetings were absolutely within the law. If he doesn't like the law, that's another story."

Grossman-Ianni said the Erie-St. Clair LHIN was holding the meetings based on a bylaw established by the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care when LHINs were set up five years ago.

All closed meetings were strictly to educate board members about aspects of the healthcare system in their region, she said.

"We've had an overview on longterm care, for instance. And every year we have someone come to talk about the emergencies at all seven of our hospitals."

Minutes were not taken but votes were not held either, Grossman-Ianni said, adding that she didn't know why the meetings would be held behind closed doors in the first place.

"We never did any board business, just learning a little bit more about our business."

The next education session for the Erie-St. Clair LHIN is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. at the LHIN offices in Chatham-Kent. It will be open to the public, followed by the monthly business meeting at 1 p.m., Grossman-Ianni said.

"They were never a secret. We've been directed by the minister to have all our meetings open now and we think that's just fine."

Grossman-Ianni admitted there is public complaint about how open and transparent LHINs are, but said a great deal of public consultation already takes place.

"I think that when you're dealing with the hospital and very, very emotional topics, people can be very critical," she said. "We're taking (Marin's report) as a suggestion and will try to do better on all fronts."

She said LHINs are trying to solve issues related to health care that have existed for years and that raises the public's concerns.

"But I think we're a better place to solve those problems than in Toronto," she said. "We're here to make changes to health care and we're local. There are representatives from Sarnia-Lambton.

"I think we're doing a very good job."

Article ID# 2708721


 August 11

Health Minister is in Denial--

Refuses to Re-evaluate Draconian Hospital Cuts

The time is now to contact Premier McGuinty and tell him what you think of his hospital cuts and the LHINs

The media has now managed to get Health Minister Deb Matthews' response to a scathing report on the LHINs by Andre Marin Ontario's Ombudsman released yesterday. In her first responses since the release of the ombudsman's report, the Health Minister has continued her government's stubborn refusal to review, evaluate, or concede in any way that there is a problem with her government's deep hospital cuts and the behaviour of her government's deeply unpopular LHINs.

In his report, "LHIN Spin" the ombudsman found LHIN’s across Ontario had passed by laws allowing them to meet in secret to discuss restructuring (ie. cuts) decisions without public scrutiny. He stated that the LHINs had rendered public consultation requirements "meaningless" and had counted individual conversations in grocery stores or on the golf course as "consultations".

Health Minister Deb Matthews says she has "complete confidence in the LHIN," stressing that there will be no repercussions against the board of directors and that hospital restructuring in Hamilton and Niagara will go on as planned.

6 hours ago Hamilton Spectator (1 occurrences)

Matthews said, "Let me be clear, I don't concede it was illegal."

6 hours ago Hamilton Spectator (1 occurrences)

Yesterday, the Ontario Health Coalition called for a proper review and evaluation of the worst of the recent LHIN hospital cuts decisions. In every case we outlined, the LHIN operated without full information, without a proper assessment of the effect of their cuts on access to publicly-funded health care services, without meaningful consultation, and without coordinating the availability of community-based services and hospital care. In every case, vital hospital care has been cut for tens of thousands of local residents leaving them without adequate access to Canada Health Act services and crucial preventive care.

We can win change, but we need to take this time to let the McGuinty government hear what communities really think about the hospital cuts and the LHINs. Please ask your friends and neighbours to take a minute to write in.

Let Premier Dalton McGuinty know what you think about the Health Minister's refusal to listen to any criticisms or concerns about her government's hospital cuts. If you have already done it in the past, the time is now to do it again. Let him know what you think about your LHIN and whether you see the health system as worse or better since the LHINs were created. Encourage your friends, family and neighbours to do the same. Don't let them continue to refuse to act on reasonable concerns raised about their LHINs and the loss of vital hospital services.

Contact the Premier at:

Premier Dalton McGuinty

Room 281, Main Legislative Building,

Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

Tel 416-325-1941

Fax 416-325-3745


Conrad's Editorial

Don't wait until the 2011 elections to tell McGuinty that there is a problem.  Send copies of your letters to Van Bommel and Hoy.


August 10


Health Coalition Applauds Ombudsman’s Report on LHIN Spin: Demands McGuinty Stop Delaying the Review the LHINs, Investigate Poor LHIN Decisions to Cut Hospital Care for Thousands of Residents

Toronto – The Ontario Health Coalition applauds Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin’s report "The LHIN Spin". But the Coalition is deeply concerned that the McGuinty government has evaded it legislative requirement to conduct a full review of its Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the legislation that governs them and is continuing a major round of health system cuts and restructuring while shutting out virtually all public advocates that have expressed concerns or criticized their reforms. Ironically, though the Ombudsman gave credit to the Ministry of Health for belatedly setting proposed standards for LHINs’ public consultation, the Ministry has not consulted with public advocates who have experience trying to work with the LHINs regarding these standards.

Ombudsman Andre Marin reported that the McGuinty government appointed LHINs have rendered community engagement "meaningless". He stated that LHIN board members counted conversations on golf courses and in grocery stores as public consultations. He noted that they relied on presentations of the provider organizations to make decisions affecting access to health care for tens of thousands of residents. He was particularly critical of the LHINs for adopting illegal by laws to meet behind closed doors.

But the Ombudsman is limited in his mandate to review only the application of public policy, not the policy itself. After cross-province public hearings attended by more than 1,150 residents, and after reviewing 487 written and oral submissions this spring, the Ontario Health Coalition concluded:

"In particular, we determined that the LHINs are so lacking in public confidence, so flawed in their size and confused in their mandate, that we have recommended that the province change direction and create new accountable regional planning bodies closer to home with a principled and clear mandate. We also determined that hospital planning is so erratic, so short-term and short-sighted, that the risk of closure of needed services in small and rural hospitals is now very high. As a result, we have heeded the many calls from communities to recommend that the province set standards for hospital services and distance to care." To see the full report and recommendations, go to

"McGuinty government has instigated the deepest health care cuts that we have seen since the hospital restructuring 15 years ago," noted Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "From the outset the government has obscured its plans and the situation has only worsened in recent years. Since the departure of George Smitherman as Health Minister two years ago, the Ministry of Health has adopted a "closed shop" mentality. The LHINs behaviour, so criticized by the Ombudsman is entirely consistent with the Ministry of Health’s practice of shutting out to all public interest advocates that might disagree or raise concerns with their hospital cuts and restructuring. This is a short-sighted and deeply undemocratic approach to governance. It has made for poor and deeply unpopular decision-making that threatens access to vital health care services. The McGuinty government must change its approach to embrace democratic discussion that is a requirement for sound policy making."

"The fact that the Ministry of Health has belatedly removed the illegal by-laws adopted by their appointees in the LHINs does not go far enough," she continued. "The McGuinty government must conduct a full review of the LHINs as is required in their own LHINs legislation. This review cannot merely consist of a consultant’s report – it must include full public consultation including municipalities and local health advocates that have experience trying to work with the LHINs. The Ministry of Health must conduct a full review of recent LHIN decisions that have resulted in deep cuts to needed hospital care."

* The McGuinty government must heed the call of the municipalities, MPPs, physicians, nurses, and all public interest health care groups in Niagara to send an Investigator under the Public Hospitals Act into the Niagara Health System to evaluate and re-assess the restructuring plan that has resulted in the closure of emergency and acute care hospital services in Port Colborne and Fort Erie and ongoing cuts in Welland and Niagara Falls. In our cross-province consultations we found among the worst areas in the province for access to hospital care in Niagara. Patients and families reported that they have waited in some cases four days in emergency departments on stretchers. Nurses, paramedics and physicians described conditions as unsafe and in crisis.

* Similarly, the decision to push through major cuts and restructuring that has been opposed by physicians, nurses, support workers, community groups and patients alike in Hamilton must also be reviewed and re-evaluated with full public consultation.

* The McGuinty government must evaluate and consult with the public on recent decisions by LHINs in Peterborough and Cobourg to force through deep hospital cuts that affect access to vital hospital care. In Cobourg the cuts have deprived thousands of residents access to Canada Health Act covered rehabilitation services and diabetes care. In Peterborough, the LHIN has just approved a draconian set of hospital cuts without ever requiring the hospital to outline the impact of cutting 182 nurses and front-line support staff on hospital services, including how many hospital beds would be rendered unusable as a result, nor how many diagnostic tests would be cut.

This summer, McGuinty government-appointed LHINs are making decisions about closing emergency departments overnight in Petrolia and St. Marys. The coalition will be releasing a full report this fall on hospital cuts that continue across Ontario.

For more information: Natalie Mehra 416-230-6402 (cell), Sue Hotte, Niagara Health Coalition (905) 932-1646 (cell)

The Ontario Health Coalition is Ontario’s largest public interest group on health care. We represent more than 400 member organizations including patient advocates, seniors’ groups, community health advocates, Friends of local hospitals, more than 70 local health coalitions, health professionals, nurses, unions, social and health service agencies, and ethnic and cultural organizations. Our mandate is to preserve the public health system under the principles of the Canada Health Act.

Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305

Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8



Tuesday Aug.10


Ombudsman André Marin blasts LHIN for `illegal``, secret meetings



Updated: Tue Aug. 10 2010 1:02:20 PM

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — A local health agency set up by the Liberal government held "illegal, secret meetings" to discuss restructuring hospital services in Hamilton and Niagara, including the closure of two emergency rooms, Ombudsman Andre Marin reported Tuesday.

But the Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant Local Health Integration Network met its lawful requirement to consult the community on the proposed hospital changes by talking with people on the golf course or in line at the grocery store, reported Marin.

"Our investigation revealed that despite the strong language in the legislation, the reality of 'community engagement' is that it's a wishy-washy grey zone -- and this particular LHIN took advantage of that to render it almost meaningless," Marin said at a press conference.

"They used these secret meetings -- seven for the Niagara plan, four for the Hamilton one -- to discuss the restructuring plans with the key players away from public view."

All the LHINs opened themselves up to legal challenges of their decisions -- including the move to shut the emergency rooms in Fort Erie and Port Colborne -- by "being sneaky," meeting in secret and not properly documenting the discussions, said Marin.

"These LHINs that did substantive deliberations and took in submissions and had discussions that were undocumented, out of view of the public, have now put themselves in a very precarious situation vis-a-vis the law," he said.

The practice of holding secret meetings spread to all 14 LHINs across the province is "creeping like hog weed" and shutting the public out of key decisions regarding local health care services, said Marin.

"Members of the public are left to wonder if the meetings they are allowed to attend are just a rubber stamp, with the real engagement going on in private, inside the LHIN's boardroom," he said.

The report, called The LHIN Spin, didn't look into the merits of the decision to close the ERs -- Marin doesn't have jurisdiction over hospitals -- but said the Hamilton-area LHIN clearly failed to properly consult the community on its restructuring plan.

The Ministry of Health had "a last minute change of heart" Monday and agreed to tell the 14 LHINs across Ontario to stop the secret meetings, said Marin.

"I welcome this late development from the ministry as it will bring the LHINs in compliance with the law and will increase transparency and accountability in their decision-making," he said.

Even though they were set up so health-care decisions are made at a local level, Marin said the LHINs' "reality of community decision-making has fallen fall short of the political spin."

The Opposition vowed to scrap all 14 LHINs and invest the money that is spent on that level of bureaucracy back into front line health services if it wins next year's election and would re-open the Fort Erie emergency room.

"The fact that the ombudsman has clearly said that these decisions were arrived at by an illegal bylaw and secret meetings tells me that those decisions to close down those (Niagara-area) ERs must be revisited immediately," said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

"I reject the premise that the LHINs are about regionalization. I think they're a veil for the government to hide behind."

The New Democrats also accused the Liberal government of hiding behind the LHINs whenever unpopular health care decisions have to be announced, and called the Ombudsman's report "deeply, deeply" troubling.

"Instead of a smart system of accountable, community health care, we have a bloated, unaccountable bureaucracy," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

"I'm calling for a moratorium on all hospital restructuring until a full scale review of LHINs has taken place."

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday that his government would rather make improvements to LHINs as needed rather than engage in the full review that was promised when the local health networks were set up in 2006.

However, a spokesman for the premier later clarified a review of the LHINs was still required by law, but couldn't say when it will be held. Opposition critics predicted it won't come until after next year's Ontario election.



July 29

CKHA receives funds to reduce ER wait times

 MPP Pat Hoy today announced $3,330,500 that includes for the first time ever, the Leamington and Chatham-Kent hospitals, as Ontario is expanding its successful Pay-for-Results Program to reduce ER wait times and ensure that local residents can get the emergency care they need, sooner.

“Patients deserve timely, high quality care when sudden injury or illness takes them to the hospital Emergency Room. We continue to work with hospitals to ensure their ERs are running as efficiently as possible,” said Hoy.

Hoy said local funding for 2010-11 in the Erie St. Clair LHIN area includes:

$300,000 to Leamington District Memorial Hospital.

$789,400 to Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

$1,205,400 to Windsor Regional Hospital.

$1,035,700 to Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital.

Since it was created in 2008, the program has already helped the 46 participating hospitals reduce ER wait times by 23 per cent. The program helps hospitals meet specific ER wait time reduction targets. This year, 71 Ontario hospitals will receive Pay-for-Results funding, including Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. All of them have committed to treating more patients within the targets, aiming to improve by 15 per cent over the course of the year.


Conrad's editorial


I wonder how much Sydenham District Hospital  will actually get from this $789,400 OR will everything be kept for Chatham?  Just a question!!!!



July 27


Letter to the Editors - Courier Press; Chatham Daily News; CKDP


 Physician recruitment in Wallaceburg

Sir: Last week , the Sydenham District Hospital Corporation discussed physician recruitment and CKHA’s failure to recruit physicians for the Wallaceburg site.

When asked to respond as to why no physicians had been recruited for Wallaceburg, Dr. G.Tithicott, Chief of Staff for CKHA, explained to the Corporation members that physicians’ priorities had changed, that some wanted different lifestyles that could not be provided in Wallaceburg, that some wanted assurances that their spouses would be found employment, that some did not want to work in hospitals or ER’s and other numerous reasons.

Dr. Tithicott went to explain that the provincial health care budget only went so far, and that the crowd would be astounded to know how many health care dollars were needed in the "905", which is a reference to the greater Toronto area. He said that particular area just eats up health dollars.

Dr. Tithicott is correct. There are so many people in the Toronto area, who need health care, treatment, and follow-up. They need assessment and care by surgeons, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, paediatricians, gerontologists and more. They need to be seen at Nurse Practitioner clinics, Diabetic clinics, sleep clinics, family doctors’ offices, counsellors’ offices and more. They need access to home care, hospitals, nursing homes, referral centers through Community Care Access centres, laboratory and diagnostic imaging clinics, and more.

The public who resides in Toronto deserves all of these services, as does every person in Wallaceburg and area, Chatham Kent and in Ontario.

Every Ontario community has its needs. We still have a publicly funded health care system, which is supposed to guarantee equitable access to health services. The Wallaceburg community needs more physicians, and through the CKHA, these physicians must be recruited. While this is a difficult task, the Alliance has a duty to make legitimate attempts to bring physicians to both of its campuses. SOS, SDH Corporation and the Wallaceburg community are willing to help.

The CKHA talks about being innovative in its approach to providing health care. It is time for the CKHA to become innovative when recruiting physicians especially for Wallaceburg. Just look at the Petrolia situation. The Minister of Health and Long term Care flashed a possible incentive of up to $75,000.

Premier McGuinty’s ESLHIN employees should be more pro-active in brings doctors to both Wallaceburg and Chatham.

Our MPP’s , Van Bommel and Hoy should be more vocal about the needs of this community. The local MPP’s and the Premier need to know this community expects a better effort from them, our elected officials to provide health care services. A better effort would require the provincial government to fund hospitals appropriately, as well as all health services for which they are responsible. As the provincial election looms closer next year, it would behoove the MPP’s and Mr. McGuinty to listen to the citizens.

Thank you.

Conrad Noel




July 26


Wallaceburg Disrepair:

To the editor:

I was pleased to attend a meeting last week, of the Sydenham District Hospital Corporation, and its’ Board. Heads of the Public General Board and the St. Joseph’s Board, as well as CKHA’s new CEO, Colin Patey were present, along with members of the CKHA Senior team and the current Chief of Staff, Dr. G. Tithicott.

The members of the SDH Corporation asked questions about maintenance at SDH. Comments were made about the general disrepair of the Sydenham building. The Chief Financial Officer at CKHA, Anthony DiCaita, responded to these queries, by explaining that there was a finite amount of money in the health care budget, and tough decisions were being made province wide. Some projects had to wait.

As a retired Registered Nurse, I had strong reactions to Mr. DeCaita’s comments. There is a real difference between up-grades and renovations having to wait until there is sufficient money in the budget, and basic up-keep and repair projects which need to proceed, when needed.

I am told that many repairs have been done on the third floor of the SDH, where the Continuing Care unit is located. When I asked how this has been accomplished, I was told that there was available money in the Continuing Care budget.

Shona Elliot, Vice President of Human Resources, who is responsible for the portfolio of Health and Safety, commented that the SDH elevators will shortly be repaired. This has taken a mere 3 or 4 years to accomplish.

The Emergency department remains in disrepair. The cupboard doors at the nursing station regularly fall off their hinges. Drawers at the nursing desk do not open or close properly. There is a hole in the floor in one of examination rooms; this has been covered with duct tape, and a garbage can was placed over it. Some examination lights do not provide enough light, which means the staff and physicians cannot see well, when examining a patient. The doors on several examination rooms are marked by scuffs from moving stretchers. The floor entering the department is torn, and "fixed" with duct tape. The cast equipment cart is rusted. One of the sinks will not turn off easily, and much force has to be used to shut off the water. Windows on the north side of the first floor need repair and replacement. Anthony DiCaita, the Vice President of Finance holds the portfolio for Emergency Services.

These examples of unaddressed problems do not present a good face to the public and affect morale of the staff. Everyone perceives that repairs are not being done in the Emergency Department for a reason. Could it be that the CKHA was not willing to spend money on a department which was about to be closed?

This disrepair also represents a potential danger to the patients and visitors to the Emergency department and to staff. These are not "projects" that would enhance the work being done there. These are basic repairs that would ensure the work being done in the ER can continue.

While this is a problem for the CKHA to fix, responsibility also lies with the Erie St. Clair LHIN for decreasing hospital budgets, and of course with our MPP’s and Premier Dalton McGuinty for not respecting the work that hospitals do, through their inadequate funding.

Please contact your MPP’s and the Premier’s office, and tell them that your vote is as important as your local hospital. Tell them to fund health care, and hospitals appropriately.

Thank you.

Shirley Roebuck, Reg. N.

Port Lambton.


 July 22


Letter to the editor - Chatham Daily News




Sir:I am writing about the nighttime closure of the CEE emergency department in Petrolia and the impact of that closure on our community. This downsizing is similar to what the Hay report recommended.

The Erie-St. Clair LHIN assured Petrolia that the ER would not be touched for five years; now they say that Bluewater Health's plan to deal with MD shortages is not acceptable.

To date, the Sydenham District Campus emergency department continues to operate 24 hours per day. It is true that Health Force Ontario physicians account for a small part of the MD coverage of the department, but in reality it is the forts of Dr. R. Mayo, and Dr. D. Atoe that have ensured that our emergency department is properly staffed by physicians.

The doctor recruitment efforts of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance have only resulted in new physicians for the Chatham and Tilbury area.

Although Dalton McGuinty's LHIN's are talking about better access to health care through Urgent Care Units, Family Health Teams and specialty clinics, access to health care is still needed after clinics are closed. Access to local emergency care is needed 24 hours a day.

It is unacceptable to have allowed the Petrolia emergency department to be downsized, and it is just as unacceptable to have the same even be considered here in Wallaceburg. This community will not tolerate such action. Responsibility lies with the Chatham Kent Health Alliance to aggressively recruit doctors for both Chatham and Wallaceburg, and responsibility lies with the Erie St. Clair LHIN to support and fund CKHA's efforts appropriately.

We should not forget the responsibility of our MPPs and Dalton McGuinty. The voters stand shoulder to shoulder to tell them to stop their plan to downsize or close small community hospitals, and instead to fund hospitals appropriately to allow their nctioning. The people of this community and the people of Ontario deserve this from their elected officials. --

Shirley Roebuck, RN Port Lambton

Article ID# 2679406





July 21 Good News for WIFN


Walpole gets new health care centre

The Daily News

Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres are opening a new site on Walpole Island in August.

The opening is a result of a partnership with the Walpole Island Health Centre.

The addition of new staff operating at the site will provide residents of the First Nation with increased access to quality primary health care, health promotion and disease prevention programs.

"This is the start of what will be a very effective partnership,'' said Kristen Williams, executive director of the centres.

She said that as the Walpole Island site develops, programs and services will expand further through increased collaborations with other agencies and organizations serving the community.

Like Ontario's 74 other community health centres, Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres are community governed and community driven.

The Walpole Island community was consulted in creating the new site and several meetings with band officials and community healthcare stakeholders provided feedback on the specific health care needs of the community.

Article ID# 2678989



July 21  Sarnia Observer


Sir:Like all Ontarians, families in Petrolia deserve access to high quality health care when they need it, as close to home as possible. We are always working hard to make this possible.

My Ministry is working closely with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Bluewater Health and the community to address the challenges faced at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital. We are determined to find a solution that focuses on the needs in the community.

Our government has made access to primary health care services a priority. We have increased the number of practicing physicians in Ontario by over 2,300. That includes almost 100 new doctors right here in the Erie St. Clair area, meaning that more than 11,000 people who didn't have a family doctor, now have one.

We are doing more to help Bluewater Health serve its patients and we are going further to make sure families can rely on it for the local care they need.

Last week my ministry approved Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital for the Emergency Department Coverage Demonstration Project to help cover shifts if they face emergency scheduling issues. We've also let the hospital know about our Emergency Department Recruitment and Mentorship programs, which provide financial incentives of up to $75,000 for recruiting new doctors to the community.

Moving forward, the Erie St. Clair LHIN will be reviewing Bluewater Health's proposal over the next 30 to 60 days. The LHIN has also informed the hospital that they need to engage the community on their plan.

We will continue to work with everyone involved to ensure that residents of Petrolia have access to the high quality health care they deserve, both now and in the future.

-- Deb Matthews Minister of Health and Long- Term Care

Article ID# 2678159



Conrad's Editorial:


This is interesting to read that new monies are found when there is an outcry from the community.  Great job Petrolia residents.


Hopefully, CKHA will try harder to recruit for Wallaceburg.  When CKHA allows a hospital to deteriorate the way SDH has,  and remove all services except ER, no wonder no one wants to come to Wallaceburg. 


How about family physicians?  What can be done to recruit someone?  Wallaceburg is a great community.


Deb Matthews Minister of Health and Long-Term care  states  that there are  financial incentives of up to $75,000.  At last night's SDH Corporation meeting, Dr. Tithecot was not very encouraging about Wallaceburg.  Chatham seems to get physicians but not Wallaceburg.  


 I personally believe that if we gather the necessary forces, we can do something about it.  There are monies available.  If we can't count on CKHA's  recruiting team, then Wallaceburgers have to move on their own. 



July 20


Letter to the Editor Chatham-Kent Daily Press

 Dear Citizens:

 With the recent news that Petrolia’s Emergency Room may be closed, through the night,  the Save Our Sydenham Committee is very disappointed that this is being allowed to happen and we remain very concerned about our own ER in SDH (we have Health Force supporting us in Wallaceburg but this may not be a long term solution). A few thoughts.

 Doctor shortages are rampant throughout Ontario Hospitals and even more so in rural communities such as Petrolia and Wallaceburg. This is an issue that falls squarely on the shoulders of the provincial government (who by the way recently changed the rules so that our area is no longer classified as under serviced even though it is) and the recruitment efforts of the CKHA. At the recent annual general meeting the CKHA admitted that while they have recruited doctors to CKHA not a single doctor has been recruited to SDH. This, in spite of the fact, that several months ago a local Wallaceburg business family brought forth a doctor candidate interested in working at SDH. Guess what, the CKHA was slow to act and she has accepted a job in Leamington.

      Closing an ER for any period of time is very serious. Do you or your child want to be lucky or unlucky depending on the time of day or night when your life threatening incident happens?

     The SOS worked very closely with the members of the SDH Corporation (many SOS members are also SDH Corp members) in order to call the special members meeting on July 20th. Having a SDH Board that will work with all of the stakeholder groups is an important step.

      The Rural and Northern Health Care Panel report is done but the provincial government is behind on their review and release of the report. Your SOS remains ready, fully funded and vigilant as we await this report. The impact it may have or not have on our SDH is unknown until the report is released.

      The newly elected SDH Board and the CKHA need to get more involved in addressing the issue of doctor shortages and routine maintenance at SDH( a better kept hospital is one key to attracting doctors). The community will support and work with you but you have to show some initiative.

 Finally, on behalf of SOS and the entire community I want to thank all of the nurses, doctors and medical staff working at SDH and servicing the area communities for your dedication, compassion and support for all of us. The fight to save our ER and move towards a more fully functional hospital for Wallaceburg and area would not be possible without you.

 Thank You,

 Jeff Wesley


Save Our Sydenham Committee


July 19  Chatham-Kent Daily Press


Letter: ER cuts in Petrolia, Wallaceburg still 24/7 

I am writing about the night time closure of the CEE Emergency department and the impact of that closure on our community. This downsizing is similar to what the HAY report recommended. The Erie-St. Clair LHIN assured Petrolia that their ER would not be touched for 5 years; now they say that Bluewater Health’s plan to deal with MD shortages is not acceptable.

To date, the Sydenham District Campus Emergency department continues to operate 24 hours per day. It is true that Health Force Ontario physicians account for a small part of the MD coverage of the department, but in reality it is the continued efforts of Dr. R. Mayo, and Dr. D. Atoe that have ensured that our Emergency department is properly staffed by physicians.

The doctor recruitment efforts of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance have only resulted in new physicians for the Chatham and Tilbury area.

Although Dalton McGuinty’s LHIN’s are talking about better access to health care through Urgent Care Units, Family Health Teams and specialty clinics, access to health care is still needed after clinics are closed. Access to local Emergency care is needed 24 hours a day.

It is unacceptable to have allowed the Petrolia Emergency to be downsized, and it is just as unacceptable to have the same, even be considered, here in Wallaceburg. This community will not tolerate such action. Responsibility lies with the Chatham Kent Health Alliance to aggressively recruit doctors for both Chatham and Wallaceburg, and responsibility lies with the Erie St. Clair LHIN to support and fund CKHA’s efforts appropriately.

We should not forget the responsibility of our MPP’s and Dalton McGuinty. The voters stand shoulder to shoulder to tell them to stop their plan to downsize or close small community hospitals, and instead to fund hospitals appropriately to allow their continued functioning.

The people of this community and the people of Ontario deserve this from their elected officials.

Shirley Roebuck, Reg. N.
Port Lambton, ON


July 14


Denying front-line doctors the right to vote on board is wrong

Posted By ROD HILTS   Sarnia Observer

The Ministry of Health and Longterm Care's amendments that could prohibit doctors on hospital boards from voting on key financial decisions is a step backwards for health care in this province.

In a story Monday in The Observer, the new president of the Professional Staff Association at Bluewater Health spoke out against the impending changes. Dr. Alvaro Ramirez says beginning in January doctors on the hospital board will not have a say on important financial decisions impacting patient care.

Ramirez says Ontario is determined to run health care facilities like a business instead of putting patient care first.

It's a scary scenario that makes no sense since doctors are bringing critical clinical information to the table. This information is a valuable tool in helping all board member's make decisions and, in turn, the doctors should be able to vote with the knowledge they bring to the discussion.

Ramirez is fearful that if the government continues with the economics-based decision-making, expensive initiatives that are beneficial to the patient may not get approved.

Ramirez hopes amendments can still be made in September when the government has scheduled a round of meetings with the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association.

The chair of Bluewater Health's board is supportive of doctors retaining voting rights. Bruce Davies told The Observer it's ironic that Bluewater Health completed an internal governance review that concluded the hospital CEO should be granted voting rights for the first time. Now, as Davies puts it, the ministry is going the other way.

With three doctors sitting on Bluewater's board, it would be an injustice if they were denied full voting rights. Their years of medical experience and expertise has earned them that.

When the front-line of our medical system do not get a voice at the table, then there are serious problems with the bureaucratic system that's in place. We can only hope the doctors' collective voices will be heard during the meetings in September and their vote will still be welcomed next year.



Posted By  Sarnia Observer

Sir: Members of Charlotte's Task Force for Rural Health are very concerned by news that there is a threat to the emergency services at CEE Hospital. Unfortunately, our doctors are overworked and can no longer cover all emergency shifts while maintaining their busy family practices.

Our doctors have long committed to serving the community of rural Lambton County and we believe the community, in return, will rally around them. We must continue to actively support the ongoing recruitment efforts of our doctors, the CEEH Foundation and Mayor McCharles who have been working together to find additional physicians for our community.

There are solutions other than closure and we are asking the Erie St. Clair LHIN, Bluewater Health and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to work with our doctors and our community to find those solutions. Closure is a problem, not a solution.

Like all rural Lambton residents, the Task Force took the Erie St. Clair LHIN (ESCL) and Bluewater Health (BWH) administrators at their word. In February 2009, those administrators gave rural Lambton residents an assurance of five years of ergency service at CEE Hospital. As part of the tripartite agreement, which included family physicians based in Petrolia, both the ESCL and BWH have a stated responsibility to work collaboratively with Petrolia's physicians to find solutions to problems facing CEE Hospital.

Finally, to those who may not understand: An overnight emergency service is crucial to rural Lambton. Any cutback of emergency service will deny critical care access to rural residents and deny residents the opportunity to be resuscitated, stabilized, admitted or transferred for advanced care. Charlotte's Task Force believes that rural residents have a right to that critical care just as people in Sarnia, Windsor and Chatham do.

Charlotte's Task Force has tentatively scheduled a town hall meeting for Monday, July 26, at 7 p.m., the venue to be confirmed. Once again, rural Lambton residents may have to come together to fight the urban-centric mentality that does not have the will to understand the extraordinary needs of our rural community.

-- Rosanne Orcut Charlotte's Task Force For Rural Health

Article ID# 2665862



 July 10


An Observation by Anne  Stewart



Just an observation from the London Free Press re London and Sarnia.  It's all about 'stuff.'


June 18 - "Renovations Project at St. Joe's Enters Final Phase,"  with finishing touches pegged at more than $25 million. 

July 2 - "8 cancer care jobs saved."  After public outcry because of layoff notices for a number of cancer nurses, eight nurses have had their jobs saved.



June 29 - "New building means 'a new era' in health care."   New building and Russell Street redevelopment will cost $319 million.

July  7 - Petrolia ER to be closed starting in September.


Do you see what's going on.  For the politicians, the foto ops are important.  PEOPLE ARE NOT.

Hospital cuts are generally nurses, personal care workers, beds and small ERs.  And doctors must be frustrated to no end as government bureaucrats, who don't know a thermometer from a bedpan (yes, Ministry of Health, centres of excellence still need bedpans) dictate every move they make.


The dictionary states that a hospital is  'a charitable institution for the needy, aged, infirm or young,'  'an institution where the sick or injured are given  medical or surgical care.'  Not today.  The buildings are called  'centres of excellence' not charitable (meaning full of love and goodwill to others) institutions.


 In Sarnia an additional $18 million is needed in new funding for the 52 additional beds.  Now where do you think the dollars are coming from?  And the staffing?  Petrolia, of course. 


"It's an important milestone for the people in this community," said Gary Switzer, CEO, Erie St.Clair Local Health Integration Network.  A week later and he is looking into the Petrolia ER closing.  What people?  What community?  What importance? 


A house is not a home, no matter how beautiful it is.  It depends on the loving caring relationships of the people  living in it.


A  'centre of excellence'  labelled  'Hospital'  is a misnomer.  It must be  about people - patients, doctors, nurses and medical personnel  working in relationship in a pleasant and sustainable environment.  Nurses and doctors must be given time to  look after, minister to and care for those in need.  Not today.  The bigger the buildings, the shorter the hospital stays.  It's an assembly line of inanimate objects called 'human beings.


Time to hold a dying woman's hand does not warrant a foto op.  Hospital  and LHIN CEO's salaries are such  that cancer nurses must be layed off.  Leave the patient all alone in excruciating pain because the budget must balance.       


Is today's health care beginning to look like  "the operation was a success but the patient died?"  Think about it!


Anne Stewart 


Conrad's Editorial


Thanks Anne. You're right. 

State of the art buildings worth millions along with staff layoffs.  Hospitals can't afford the necessary staff.


On a personal basis , I need a Musculosketal  Ultrasound for both shoulders. Got X-rays done here in Wallaceburg (June 21.. I went to SDH.  Got the Xrays done right away  but Ultrasound has to be done in Chatham. 

My appointment is on September 16th. How can my family doctor (he's in Whitby) properly diagnose the pain that I have in my shoulder? I guess I need to bear the pain until I get an Ultrasound.


Doesn't make much sense to me.



July 9

Conrad's editorial comments:

 In light of what is going on in Petrolia and the shortage of physicians in Wallaceburg and across the province, let's review what our MPP Maria Van Bommel said about 4 months ago: "No incentive needed".   I totally disagreed with Maria then and I truly believe that a generous incentive will attract the right person and if we have the right interviewers.

 Wallaceburg has a lot to offer.  The proof is in the pudding.  Let's offer a $100,000 incentive and see if we can't recruit a physician ourselves.


Doc incentives not needed, say MPPs

About 4 months ago


The Daily News

Local MPPs are confident Chatham-Kent can attract family doctors without the provincial incentives it has relied on in recent years.

Until last week, the municipality was eligible for up to $55,000 in provincial funding for incentives and tuition to attract physicians. However, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care revamped its underserviced area program and Chatham-Kent no longer qualifies.

It isn't rural enough.

"We've been very successful in Chatham-Kent with our family health teams . . . more doctors are coming to the area under that model," said Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Pat Hoy.

"We have put some of our government resources into other ways of attracting doctors to Chatham-Kent. The recent and ongoing success will be proof that what we're doing is a modern way of attracting doctors."

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel also praised family health teams — an approach to primary health care that brings together different providers to co-ordinate care and often consist of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals. She said the teams are very attractive to family doctors and seem to be the wave of the future when it comes to delivering primary health care.

"The doctors can spend their time with the most seriously ill," she said.

Hoy and Van Bommel said the new underserviced area program is aimed at rural and northern communities, places it was originally set up to support.

"This underserviced area (program) was an old model . . . it was badly flawed," Hoy said.

In an interview Monday, Frances Roesch, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance's director of medical affairs and recruitment, said all of the family physicians recruited in recent years have benefited from incentives through the underserviced area program.

"We are still the most underserviced area in the province," she said, noting we are short an estimated 30 family doctors. "It (new program aimed at rural areas) doesn't look at the actual physician shortage in individual communities."

Roesch said access to the funds is a major loss for the municipality in its efforts to get more doctors. Why aren't people listening?

"It's very frustrating."

Hoy and Van Bommel said the health ministry's new program for international doctors will benefit Chatham-Kent as the municipality will be able to offer incentives in exchange for service commitments.

As well, they said the healthcare connect program is helping to link patients with primary-care providers.

Both MPPs said they are confident the local community has everything it needs to be competitive and attract doctors.  Ya right for Chatham but how about Wallaceburg?

"It's not as if Chatham-Kent won't be able to recruit, it's just the way we are doing it has changed," Van Bommel said.

Article ID# 2483630


July 9

'Burg hospital not following Petrolia's lead


Unlike the hospital in Petrolia, the Wallaceburg hospital emergency room is in no danger of reducing hours due to a lack of physicians, says a local hospital advocate.

The board of directors at the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital made the decision to close the ER of the Petrolia hospital from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. beginning Sept. 29. The board made the decision because the community's doctors said they are no longer able to staff a 24-hour department.

Save Our Sydenham's Conrad Noel said the Sydenham campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is able to staff the ER due to the services of Health Force Ontario.

A government agency , Health Force Ontario helps the emergency department in Wallaceburg with temporary staffing solutions by covering gaps in shifts to keep the ER running 24 hours.

"With the Health Force, the compliment of ER doctors is sufficient," Noel said. He added that the Petrolia hospital doesn't use the services of Health Force Ontario.

Noel said the situation in Petrolia with the lack of doctors has been known for months.

"Why wait until now to announce that they are going to close it?" Noel asks.

Recruitment of doctors to Wallaceburg will be one of the items on the agenda of a special meeting called for the membership of the Sydenham District Hospital that will be held on July 20 at the Oaks Inn, Noel said.

The meeting will go from 4:30- 6:30 p.m.

Noel said that there is a CKHA committee recruiting physicians, but they have not recruited any family physicians to Wallaceburg.

"I think that has to be a major issue now," Noel said. "I think we have to open our eyes and get moving on doing something for recruitment of family physicians in Wallaceburg. It has to be a priority for all of us, SOS, CKHA, the directors of the CKHA board. It's crucial right now."

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey said that all rural hospitals have to be very aware due to the shortage of doctors willing to work long hours.

Bailey said he is not willing to accept the fact the hospital in Petrolia will reduce hours.

"I am willing to work with the hospital, the doctors and the local community to try and prevent this," Bailey said.

He said he will also look into getting help from Health Force Ontario for the Petrolia hospital.

"If they are doing that in Wallaceburg, why wouldn't they do that in Petrolia?"

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, said in press release, it doesn't support the proposal to cut in half the hours of the Petrolia ER.

The LHIN will require 30-60 days to review the proposal in order to consider the impact the change will have on the quality and access to care required for the patients who use the Petrolia ER. The LHIN also has to review the long-term sustainability of the proposed cut in ER hours.

The Ministry of Health will also need to be consulted on the proposed reduction of hours, the LHIN said in the release.

The situation in Petrolia is not unique, as all seven hospitals in the Erie-St. Clair LHIN is short physician coverage in the ER.

In February of 2009, LHIN CEO Gary Switzer announced a five-year agreement ensuring the ER at the CEE Hospital would not be downgraded to an urgent care centre.

A community outcry in Petrolia to stop the cuts resulted in the LHIN's five-year commitment to keep the status quo.

In May of 2009, CKHA requested a five-year planning window during which time the emergency departments would remain open at both Chatham and Wallaceburg, similar to a five-year window that the hospital in Petrolia received.

The five-year pledge was turned down by the LHIN due to the Rural and Northern Health panel study being done by the province.

Article ID# 2660862


July 9


Doc shortage could strip town of its 24-hour emergency care


Nothing will unite a community faster than a threat to its health care system.

That being said, expect Petrolia residents to circle the wagons again and stand up for a proposed reduction in emergency room services.

But this time, the enemy is a doctor shortage which is handicapping efforts to staff the town's ER.

The issue came to light Wednesday when it was  announced that Petrolia doesn't have enough general practitioners to keep the emergency department at CEE Hospital open 24 hours a day. Bluewater Health Board of Directors decided Wednesday to close the ER from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily beginning Sept. 29.

Understandably, Petrolia's general practitioners want to maintain a 24-hour emergency department but are taxed to the limit. According to the town's mayor, there are only about four doctors available to answer calls to the emergency department. Clearly, no one can expect four doctors to carry the weight of a hospital's emergency department.

Mayor John McCharles and Lambton County Warden Jim Burns say the only way the hospital can keep the ER open is to recruit new doctors to the town. That could be a solution that is easier said than done. Communities across the province are battling each other in their efforts to recruit doctors. A change in the government's recruiting incentive program has given the advantage to the far north and other rural communities that do not have the same proximity to medical services as are found in Lambton County. Money talks in the recruiting game and this area is no longer eligible for the province's cash lures.

The county has called a special meeting for Tuesday and have invited Bluewater Health CEO Sue Denomy and Petrolia's Dr. John Butler to attend and answer questions. But the problem remains, where can Petrolia find new doctors?

This community still has the 2009 debate about emergency services fresh on its mind. In February of that year, LHIN CEO Gary Switzer announced a five-year agreement ensuring the Petrolia ER would not be downgraded to an urgent care centre. It took a ground-swelling of public protest to help buy this ER some time. But unless some miraculous recruitment efforts bring new doctors to town or Bluewater Health can divert resources to Petrolia, the hospital may be forced to accept its new role as an urgent care centre.

-- Rod Hilts

Article ID# 2661540


July 9


Sir: Bluewater Health has announced its intention to close CEE's Emergency Department between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. because there aren't enough doctors to cover the need.

Since it has been driven home that CEE is amalgamated with Bluewater Health in Sarnia, isn't it up to Bluewater Health's management to staff CEE's Emergency?

A couple of years ago, Gary Switzer guaranteed the people of Sarnia and Lambton County that CEE's Emergency would not be closed for five years. I was suspicious of his words because neither he nor any of the LHIN staff would put it in writing.

It is so tiresome to see these people try to con the people of Lambton County. Everybody knows the LHIN is a front for Dalton's Liberals in their plot to turn public (government) services over to greedy private interests. They play these cute games like not allowing a hospital to run a deficit while underfunding it. How long will it be before U.S. citizens have better public heathcare than we do?

What can we do about it? NDP next election -the party that brought us public medicare in the first place. Uncontrolled capitalism gave us the current recession and, every five to 10 years another one or a depression.

-- Bob Scott



July 9


LHIN enters hospital fray


Bluewater Health's decision to shut down Petrolia's emergency department at night will be reviewed quickly and every attempt will be made to resolve a critical physician shortage, says Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie- St. Clair LHIN (Local Health Integration Network).

"It's not fair to the community to take this down to the wire. We will see if anything can be done as soon as possible," he told The Observer Thursday.

Bluewater Health's board of directors endorsed a proposal Wednesday from ER doctors at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart (CEE) Hospital to close the department from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. nightly starting Sept. 29.

The town's seven physicians who work in the ER say they are stretched to the limit and can no longer sustain the heavy burden of long shifts and daily office hours, according to a statement released Thursday by Bluewater Health.

But the hospital can't decide unilaterally to make substantial changes to its emergency services and must have approval from the LHIN.

The LHIN doesn't support the doctors' proposal and is taking 30 to 60 days to review it, Switzer said.

"We have to look at quality of care and ensure it's maintained. We have to look at access and safety, plus long-term sustain-ability," he said.

The LHIN must consider how reduced ER hours in Petrolia will impact residents and the surrounding region, said Switzer.

His staff will work with the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care to come up with a workable strategy to keep the ER operating 24/7. Other small hospitals such as Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg are provided with interim ER doctors through the government agency Health Force Ontario.

Bluewater Health has submitted a proposal to Health Force Ontario to bolster physician numbers in Petrolia but has not received approval. It's time for the LHIN to get involved with those negotiations, Switzer said.

"(The physicians) have done a great job in the past and they've done a great job recruiting in the past. Now they're realizing they just can't recruit so something has to be done," Switzer said.

ER doctor recruitment in Petrolia has proven difficult, despite exhaustive efforts by Dr. John Butler and the CEE Foundation, said Bluewater Health CEO Sue Denomy. Butler has worked tirelessly with town council, the mayor and hospital administration to attract new physicians, she said.

Student physicians were brought in for town tours this year but none chose to locate in Petrolia.

"Not all physicians want a rural, multi-dimensional practice and many don't want to work in emerg," Denomy said. "The younger and newer grads want to have a personal life. They don't want to be on call."

Denomy said Bluewater Health does not want to limit hours at CEE's emergency.

"This is not easy for us," she said. "It's definitely not where we wanted to go but the reality is we're here."

When two doctors left Petrolia last year, ER coverage "limped along" with seven remaining ones, she said. "And now a senior physician has indicated he wants to stop emergency shifts. A crisis was tripped."

Bluewater Health was criticized by the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition this week for failing to respond to rumours about ER cutbacks.

It was Petrolia Mayor John McCharles who fielded media questions when the news broke Wednesday.

A publicly-funded hospital should not make critical decisions that impact the community behind closed doors and without explanation, said coalition president Arlene Patterson.

Denomy defended the hospital's 24 hours of silence, saying hospital staff had to be informed first and discussions were initiated with the LHIN.

Article ID# 2661537


July 8

Conrad's Editorial:   This issue in Petrolia does NOT affected our Sydenham  Hospital because W’burg has Health Force Ontario  supporting SDH (Petrolia doesn't).


Doctor shortage is a major issue for Wallaceburg and area. CKHA recruiting committee has not recruited a single physician  for Wallaceburg in years.  This must be a TOP PRIORITY for our SDH Directors on the CKHA Board.


July 8


Update: Coalition looking for hospital input

Posted By By Cathy Dobson

Members of the Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition say Bluewater Health has been strangely quiet about Wednesday's revelation that the ER at CEE Hospital in Petrolia will shut down every night starting in September.

"The hospital uses public dollars but the doors are locked on communication," said coalition president Arlene Patterson today.

The community is demanding answers as to why there aren't enough doctors to man the emergency department and keep it running 24 hours a day, she said.

On Wednesday, Petrolia Mayor John McCharles said the hospital's board of directors had accepted a recommendation from the doctors to shut down the ER from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily starting Sept. 29.

Hospital administration has yet to comment or make a formal announcement. Board chairman Bruce Davies confirmed to The Observer that the board supported the doctor's recommendation because of the human resources shortage in Petrolia.

"The board doesn't like the proposal either but there are some realities that aren't easily solved," he said.

But coalition members want to know more from Bluewater Health, particularly what measures have been taken to attract new physicians.

"We've got a corporation making a decision that impacts on the public, yet we hear nothing from it," Patterson said. "Is John McCharles the hospital's new spokesperson?"

"The public needs to hear what's going on," said Helen Havlik, vice-president of the coalition and a town councillor.

"There's been no public statement from the hospital. Who is in charge? Providing manpower for a hospital is the duty of Bluewater Health, the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and the Ministry of Health," Havlik said.

"We want accountability."

A spokesperson for the Erie-St. Clair LHIN has indicated that a formal statement will come from that office this afternoon.

However, repeated phone calls to Bluewater Health have gone unanswered today.

Article ID# 2660194


July 8 pm

ER cuts make me angry


The date was February 24, 2009. Hundreds of people packed Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia to cry out against a plan to reduce emergency department hours at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital.

A group of six Petrolia doctors threatened resignation if Bluewater Health, under direction from the Erie- St. Clair LHIN, forged ahead with a proposal to turn the department into an urgent care centre.

The community backlash was swift and harsh.

The bureaucrats eventually backed down, the LHIN announcing it had come to an agreement with the doctors to maintain service at the emergency department.

As LHIN CEO Gary Switzer put it, the Petrolia ER would become a model for small emergency rooms in Ontario.

Fast forward to July 7, 2010, and it's deja vu all over again.

That "model" has collapsed with revelations there aren't enough staff at CEE to maintain 24/7 service in the emergency department. So, Bluewater Health holds a special session of its board of directors on Wednesday, with no public notice.

They decide behind closed doors to shut the Petrolia ER from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. beginning this fall. No formal announcement was made to the public.

Mr. Switzer tells The Observer the staffing shortages have long been known, and it's up to Bluewater Health to develop a contingency plan.

He says they've long anticipated a shortage.

So it begs the question: If this has been known for months what's been done to address it?

Switzer said that's up to hospital administration to address. But repeated calls throughout the day to get comment from Bluewater Health administrators prove fruitless.

Bluewater Health CEO Sue Denomy, who pulled in more than $300,000 from the public purse last year, was MIA all day.

Not even a released statement.

To his credit, Bluewater Health board chair Bruce Davies did respond to calls later in the day and confirmed staffing issues at CEE.

He said the board wants to work with the LHIN to find an agreeable solution, even though the board adopted a proposal to reduce ER hours this fall.

Switzer says he will not support the hospital's decision to reduce the hours of service at the ER department and the LHIN will begin it's own 30 to 60 day review.

So let the wrestling over public optics begin.

Meanwhile, the public waits for answers.

More may come today if top hospital administrators decide to comment.

One thing is certain, the public will not take any decision to reduced service lying down.

People love the CEE Hospital.

When my children have required emergency care in the past, my wife and I have thought nothing of driving our children to CEE, despite the fact we live in Sarnia.

As Arlene Patterson, chair of the Sarnia Health Coalition says, the last time this issue cropped up at CEE it "nearly incited riots in the streets."

People have a right to feel betrayed and have a right to demand answers from our local health officials, she said.

If history has taught us anything, unless people stand up and demand access to health care, you can expect cuts to the system.

Jack Poirier is a senior news editor at The Observer. Contact him at

Article ID# 2659429


July 8


Doctor burnout behind Petrolia ER reduction


The Observer

Petrolia doesn't have enough general practitioners to keep the emergency department at CEE Hospital open 24 hours a day, community leaders say.

A decision was made by the hospital board of directors Wednesday to close the ER from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, starting Sept. 29, said Petrolia Mayor John McCharles.

The board approved the resolution after the community's scant supply of doctors said they are unable to staff a 24-hour department, he said.

"I'm sure it's not an easy decision for (the doctors)."

Petrolia's general practitioners want to maintain a 24-hour emergency department but are taxed to the limit.

McCharles said after meeting with Dr. John Butler, a GP who fought in the past to keep the ER open, McCharles realized there are only about four doctors available in Petrolia who answer calls to the emergency department.

"With so few of them, they can be on call for 24 hours at a time and then have office duties after that," McCharles said. "The doctors say the can work 30 to 40 hours at a stretch.

"They just don't have a life and say their health is at stake. We need at least three or four more doctors to help with on-call shifts."

Petrolia had nine family doctors five years ago but has lost two and others don't accept on-call shifts, primarily because of advancing age, McCharles said.

"I empathize with the doctors but we don't want to give up 24-hour ER service. The answer is to recruit new doctors," the mayor said.

McCharles and Lambton County Warden Jim Burns said they want to ensure every effort is made to find new general practitioners and keep CEE's ER open around-the-clock.

"There's no point in having a restaurant open if there's no cooks," Burns said. "The fact is we don't have enough doctors. These people are not superhuman. Everyone burns out."

He has called a special meeting of county council for Tuesday and asked Bluewater Health CEO Sue Denomy and Dr. Butler to attend to answer questions.

"I hope to hear from Bluewater Health about what they've done to attract doctors to Petrolia. I want to know if every single possibility has been exhausted," Burns said. "I want to know if there's something the county can do to help attract doctors."

He said he's concerned that once CEE's emergency department limits its hours, reverting to 24-hour service will be difficult.

"Then the next step may be to shut it down on weekends and then gradually we end up in a situation where the LHIN (Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network) wanted to go last year and just shut the whole (emergency) down.

"Frankly I don't think that's acceptable to this community," Burns said. "We need 24-hour service."

In February of 2009, LHIN CEO Gary Switzer announced a five-year agreement ensuring the ER at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital would not be downgraded to an urgent care centre.

Burns said Wednesday he is disturbed about any reduction in ER hours because it could lead to a downgrade despite the agreement.

"In the back of my mind I think maybe some of the LHIN board want reduced emergency service in Petrolia," he said. "This makes it very easy for them to do that. If you don't have the doctors, how can you keep the ER open?"

Burns said he understands few rural hospitals in Ontario have had to resort to reduced ER hours.

"I want to know why other communities are able to attract doctors to their emergency and we are not," he said.

McCharles said Petrolia council has discussed the decision to limit ER hours and intends to work on a strategy to recruit new doctors.

"If it's a matter of funding, maybe we join forces with the other communities around that are being serviced by CEE," he said

The mayor said town residents are accustomed to fighting cuts to their hospital.

Last year, a group of Petrolia physicians lead by Dr. Butler threatened to resign if a recommendation to reduce services at CEE's emergency wasn't scrapped.

A community outcry to stop the cuts resulted in the LHIN's five-year commitment to keep the status quo.

Article ID# 2658557


July 7

UPDATED: Petrolia ER to close at night

Not enough doctors to maintain current services: Switzer



The emergency department at Bluewater Health's CEE Hospital in Petrolia will close at night.

Petrolia Mayor John McCharles said today hospital CEO Sue Denomy has confirmed the decision was made to reduce operating hours by closing the emergency department overnight between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

A closed door meeting held this morning by Bluewater Health's board of directors is expected to develop a plan to address staffing issues.

Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network told The Observer that there have been staffing issues at Petrolia's ER Department and that it's up to Bluewater Health to develop a backup plan.

"They're having a tough time maintaining staff," Switzer said.

"We anticipated there would be a shortage of physicians."

Hospitals were asked earlier in the year to develop contingency plans to address the foreseen issues, Switzer said.

Lambton County Warden Jim Burns said the community's been down this road before and have made it clear it won't accept cuts to emergency care.

"This community will do what needs to be done to ensure our emergency department services," Burns said.

The warden added that it's possible there aren't enough doctors currently that can continue staffing the emergency department at adequate levels.

Burns said the LHIN, Bluewater Health and local municipal leaders must find ways to ensure the hospital is adequately staffed.

In February 2009, Switzer announced a five-year agreement ensuring the ER at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital would not be downgraded to an urgent care centre.

The announcement came after months of threats, protests and petitions.

A group of Petrolia physicians had threatened to resign if the recommendation to reduce services at the ER wasn't scrapped.

At the time, LHIN officials said Petrolia's ER would be used as a model for small emergency rooms across the province, with potential for increased funding to fix health and safety issues revealed in a study by Hay Group consultants.

Switzer said then that the agreement would help to create a strategic plan to expand services at the hospital emergency room over the next five years.

Whatever contingency plan is created it should not include service disruptions in the ER department, said Sarnia Health Coalition's Arlene Patterson.

The last time this issue cropped up it "nearly incited riots in the streets," Patterson said.

"People are feeling betrayed," she said. "People have to demand access to health care. If people don't stand up and demand this they will close it."

There are avenues to investigate to help attract more health care workers if staffing is the issue, Patterson added.

Health Force Ontario, a recruiting arm of the provincial Ministry of Health, as well as a private company known as Med-Emerg, have historically helped communities to recruit new physicians and other health care workers, she said.

Article ID# 2657821


July 7

Petrolia ER department under the microscope


Bluewater Health officials are rumoured to be meeting this morning to discuss potential service cuts to the emergency department at Petrolia's CEE Hospital.

Lambton County Warden Jim Burns says he's been told that the special session will address whether to close the ER department overnight, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Bluewater Health officials have confirmed the meeting but not specifics.

Burns said this community's been down this road before and have made it clear it won't accept cuts to emergency care.

"This community will do what needs to be done to ensure our emergency department services," Burns said.

The warden added that it is possible there aren't enough doctors currently that can continue staffing the emergency department at adequate levels.

Burns said that the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, Bluewater Health and local municipal leaders must find ways to ensure the hospital is adequately staffed.

In February 2009, LHIN CEO Gary Switzer announced a five-year agreement ensuring the ER at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital would not be downgraded to an urgent care centre.

The announcement came after months of threats, protests and petitions. in a victor

A group of Petrolia physicians had threatened to resign if the recommendation to reduce services at the ER wasn't scrapped.

At the time, LHIN officials said Petrolia's ER would be used as a model for small emergency rooms across the province, with potential for increased funding to fix health and safety issues revealed in a study by Hay Group consultants.

Switzer said the agreement would help to create a strategic plan to expand services at the hospital emergency room over the next five years.

Article ID# 2657821


 July 2

Comments Re: CHKA AGM on Thursday June 24th

 Ray Pickering wrote:

Hello Conrad.
Just thought I would give you my thoughts on how the meeting went.
I still have the feeling that it is very much us and them.
If our group had not been prepared for their negativity, by that I mean,
not accepting new business, did not want dialogue on the SDH finances etc.
We would have come away no further ahead.

Jeff, Sheldon, and Ann did a superb job of preparing for this.
I do not like the way our board behaves towards the members who elected
them. They seem to be very much controlled by the CKHA. All they want to
do is explain the rules of governance, which I believe is drummed into them
by the CKHA, and thus try to suppress any form of discussion from the floor.

It is good to see a new CEO and we will see if that is a good thing or not.
If I were him I would have felt quite embarrassed at the meeting to hear a voluntary
group offer to raise the funds to repair the gazebo, at SDH, and also ask for
permission to get the repairs done.

We are a long way from seeing anything positive coming our way but we
must keep the energy level high and then I believe we will get there in the end.
Thanks again to you and all the folks at SOS for your hard work and dedication.

Ray Pickering.

Conrad`s Editorial Comments

Thanks Ray for your comments. I hope that many more of our members will express their opinions as well as you did. 


July 1


Special hospital meeting called for July 20

New CEO will be there to address SDH members

Courier Press staff

As requested at the annual general meeting of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance last month, a special meeting as been called for the membership of the Sydenham District Hospital.

The special meeting will by held on July 20 at the Oaks Inn.

The meeting will go from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Topics at the meeting include a discussion with the board on establishing a maintenance fund where CKHA contributes an amount based on the value of membership fees raised in addition to volunteer labour and additional donations (money and goods) from the members.

One project that has been mentioned by SDH members is improvements to the gazebo that sits on the front lawn of the Wallaceburg hospital.

Other topics on the agenda of the special meeting include; discussion on suggested by-law amendments, questions relating to the financial reports and operations of SDH and a report on capital/facilities investment at the SDH.

The meeting will be one of the first duties of new CKHA CEO and president Colin Patey. Patey begins his duties with the CKHA on July 19.

Article ID# 2650189


July 1

Health care task force won't touch emergency department issues

Posted By Daily News Staff

Recommendations related to emergency department services will not be made by the newly formed Primary Health Care Task Group.

During the committee's first meeting last Thursday, the group decided that the scope of its work wouldn't include ED recommendations, the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network said in a news release on Canada Day.

"This advisory committee will not be studying or recommending on any aspect of the various EDs in the ESC LHIN. Rather we will be looking to find ways to provide equitable timely access to all our populations. Our recommendations to the LHIN board will always be patient focussed," said chair Dr. Glenn Bartlett, in a news release.

Officials with the ESCLHIN couldn't be reached for comment on Canada Day.

It is expected that the group will lead a county-by-county review of the current state of primary health care in the region and submit prioritized recommendations to the ESCLHIN board of directors for improvements, the press release stated.

The three primary goals outlined for the group at the recent meeting include:

• Increased availability of primary health care options

• Greater equity of service

• Improved health outcomes.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 21 at the ESCLHIN. All meetings are open to the public.


June 30 

Special Meeting on Tuesday, July 20th from 4:30 - 6:30 at the Oaks Inn


This message is being sent to you on behalf of SDH Chair, Leah McArthur. Attached is the notice of the special members meeting that was requested at last week's Annual General Meeting.


We appreciate the members granting us a few days leniency in scheduling this meeting to allow our new President/CEO, Colin Patey, to attend the meeting (given that he only starts at CKHA on July 19th) and meet those who were unable to attend the AGM.


As requested in the notice, your co-operation in confirming your attendance by July 16th will allow us to finalize details such as seating capacity and photocopying requirements. Thanks very much and have a Happy Canada Day.


Nick Brownlee (Mrs)
Senior Executive Assistant & Governance Co-Ordinator
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030
Chatham, ON N7M 5L9
Tel: 519-437-6001 Fax: 519-436-2522

Agenda for this Special Meeting:


                                                    SYDENHAM DISTRICT HOSPITAL

                                                            MEETING OF MEMBERS


Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of the Members of the SDH Corporation

will be held on

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

at the Oaks Inn, St. Clair South Hall

Wallaceburg, ON

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m


For the purpose of -

1. Discussion with the Board on establishing a maintenance fund/plan where CKHA contributes an amount based on the value of membership fees raised in addition to volunteer labour and additional donations (money and goods) from the Members.

2. Discussion on suggested by-law amendments.

3. Questions relating to the financial reports for SDH.

4. Questions relating to the operations of SDH, and

5. A report on capital / facilities investment at the SDH.

Kindly confirm your attendance at 437-6001 or by e-mail to no later than July 16th to enable appropriate seating arrangements



June 26

News Release

New Volunteers Join CKHA Boards of Directors

CHATHAM-KENT -- At the June 24th Annual General Meetings of Sydenham District, Public General and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, volunteer Boards were appointed as follows.

Sydenham District Hospital
Gary Martin, Leah McArthur (Chair), Brian Slack, Randy Smith, Ron Tack, Paul Weese (Vice-Chair), and Wendy Weston (Treasurer).

St. Joseph’s Hospital

Monica Bacic, Carolynn Barko, Mark Isherwood (Vice-Chair), Fr. Michael Michon, Gail Rumble (Treasurer), Jennifer Wilson, and Jon Wood (Chair).

Public General Hospital

Gail Baldwin (Treasurer), Mike Grant, Jane Havens, Jim Laforet (Vice-Chair), Brenda Richardson, Robert Ryan, and Wayne Schnabel (Chair)

The following individuals were appointed as Community Representatives to a Tri-Board Committee: Liz Brown, Angela Corso, Dan Donaldson, George Duquette, Ron Fleming, Kurtina Hammerlein, Victor Lu, Dr. Michael McLauchlin, Liz Meidlinger, Erik Mitchell, Martin VanBommel, and Judy VanderPol

The following are members of the Tri-Board in an ex-officio capacity by virtue of their offices: Dr. Gary Tithecott, Chief of Medical Staff; Dr. Wally Pakulis, President of Medical Staff, Dr. Dennis Atoe, Vice-President of Medical Staff and Colin Patey, President and CEO.


Patey was announced earlier in the week as the newly appointed President and CEO for Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and was in attendance at the meeting.


The three hospital Boards function as a Tri-Board -- focusing on strategic planning, Mission, Vision and Values, quality and performance monitoring, financial and management oversight, risk identification and oversight, stakeholder communication and accountability, governance and legal compliance.


Board nominations are made through an open advertisement process by a Joint Nominating Committee and confirmed at the annual general meetings.  For more information about the Boards of Directors, Tri-Board meeting dates, or to view “Board Highlights” published after each monthly meeting, go to CKHA’s website, and click on “Directors”.


Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is a partnership of Public General, St. Joseph’s and Sydenham District Hospitals that brings together the strengths of each hospital to provide patients and families with compassionate, quality healthcare, close to home.  Together, in the past year, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance served the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of over 10,600 in-patients and 64,000 Emergency Room patient visits.  Its 1200 staff and 500 volunteers are ‘Caring People, Caring for People’ supporting the residents of Chatham-Kent, South Lambton and Walpole Island First Nations.

Media Contacts regarding Board Appointments:

Board Chairs:
Leah McArthur (519) 627-8508
Wayne Schnabel (519) 674-0222
Jon Wood (519) 351-1447


June 25 

Message from Conrad Noel Re: CKHA AGM


If you attended the CKHA AGM on Thursday June 24, I would love to hear your comments and get your reaction.  With your permission, I would also like to post them on our SOS website.


Where to email your comments?

At the top of the page, click on Contact us and write your message or

 email me

Conrad Noel




June  21   No New Business Allowed at CKHA AGM


Sheldon - please share with the SDH Members - nothing is easy!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Wesley, Jeff
Sent: June 21, 2010 11:05 AM
To: 'Nicki Brownlee'
Subject: RE: AGM

Good Morning:

Thanks for the response back - I am sincerely trying to resolve member issues prior to the meeting. Unfortunately I see nothing in section 4.04 that relates in any way to the issue of new business.

Under section 4.01 (b) it states, "The business transacted at the annual meeting of the Corporation shall include:

(vii) new business;"

The use of the word "shall" is very important as "shall" does not allow discretion as to whether you consider new business or not. Had the drafters wanted discretion to be allowed then the more permissive word "may" could have been used.

On a non legal note I find it tough to understand why you do not want to allow members to ask questions or put forward topics for consideration by the Board at a future date. To think that it would be expected that members would attend an AGM, listen, not ask questions and then be expected to vote of topics on the agenda makes no sense to me.

As I said to Leah surely there must be something positive that can come out of the SDH AGM between the Board and the members?


-----Original Message-----
From: Nicki Brownlee []
Sent: June 21, 2010 9:47 AM
To: Wesley, Jeff
Subject: RE: AGM

Thank you for your e-mail.

New business is included as an item in section 4.01(b)(vii) so that the
annual meeting will include any new business that has occurred over the
previous year that is within the authority of the members to consider or
that requires the members' consideration.  This would include, for
example, bylaw amendments which are brought to the annual meeting where
these have been passed by the board pursuant to the bylaws.

Where there is such business to be considered, notice of the business
must be given to members under section 4.04.  As a general principle of
notice, before an issue can be discussed at a members' meeting, all
members must have received notice in advance of the meeting which sets
out the nature of the issue to be discussed so that each member knows
what will be discussed when they decide whether to attend the meeting
and can prepare for the discussion.  It is not proper to discuss a new
issue at a meeting without having given advance notice to all members,
as those members who are not present will not have the opportunity to
participate in the discussions and the members present will not have had
the opportunity to prepare.

For this year's notice, as there was no new business to be considered by
the members this year, it has not been included in the notice and will
not be on the agenda.

I trust that this answers your question.

Nick Brownlee (Mrs)
Senior Executive Assistant & Governance Co-Ordinator
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030
Chatham, ON N7M 5L9
Tel: 519-437-6001 Fax: 519-436-2522

-----Original Message-----
From: Wesley, Jeff []
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 9:02 AM
To: Nicki Brownlee
Subject: AGM

Good Morning:

I noticed that new business was not listed on the AGM agenda but as per
4.01 (b) (vii) of the bylaws it is part of the business transacted at
the AGM. I spoke with Leah who said no it was not and there must be
notice of new business given in advance. I do not see this anywhere in
the by-laws.

Prior to the AGM please have someone respond to me and point out where
in the by-laws it supports what Leah said. I believe my interpretation
is correct and failing CKHA showing me something different I will seek
to add this to the AGM agenda. If you show me I am incorrect then I will
refrain from bringing it up.



Letter to the editor from today’s Chatham Daily News (  


Sir:    Re: Gary Switzer, CEO, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (ESC LHIN) full-page response to the OHC Report is very much a non-response. In reality, it is a slap in the face to the people living in Wallaceburg and surrounding area.

The Report appealed for equity and improved access (in Wallaceburg's case, return of access), brackets mine, to hospital services in rural and northern communities. Note -rural and northern.

Twelve hearings were held March 4-27, in communities stretching from Wallaceburg to New Liskeard. Panelists included doctors, nurses, an MP, MPP and the director of the OHC, who also serves on the board of the Canadian Health Coalition. The panel received input from 1,150 citizens.

SunMedia's Queen's Park reporter, Christina Blizzard's response, after reading the OHC Report was, "Rural and northern health care gets failing grade," "shocking," and "a report that sounds the alarm bells about rural and northern communities."

Yet, Switzer states the report does not "accurately address the important role of the LHIN." It's not about the role of the LHIN, sir. It's about quality health care; health care 14 LHINs across Ontario have removed from small and rural hospitals.

What is it that's not understood about the OHC report? Is it the word "quality" or is it "rural?" Perhaps it's the two words together as in "quality rural" health care, especially as it pertains to Sydenham District Hospital (SDH), that is not grasped.

Surely, a CEO receiving $313,119.50 in salary and bonuses, plus handing out $650,000 in untendered contracts, and managing $1 billion of local health-care funds, is capable of recognizing inequity in access to quality hospital services in rural areas?

In your remarks, one and only one reference is made to Wallaceburg, Leamington and Petrolia's rurality. And I quote ". . . with a strong emphasis on the need of Erie St. Clair's rural community." Are the "strong emphases" to further plunder SDH or return and restore what the LHIN has removed?

The LHIN system is working? For whom? The system does not appear to be working for Wallaceburg, Leamington and Petrolia.

I wholeheartedly agree with the OHC recommendation that LHINs be phased out over a three-year period. The money saved in salaries and consulting fees alone will go a long way to restoring small rural hospitals to the full-service status they once enjoyed.

-- Anne Stewart Wallaceburg


June 10


CKHA VP and CFO Anthony DiCaita bolting to Humber

 CKHA Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Anthony DiCaita has been appointed as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer at Humber River Regional Hospital (HRRH) effective August 2nd, 2010.

CKHA officials said HRRH is a one of Canada’s largest regional acute care hospitals, serving a catchment area of more than 850,000 people in the northwest GTA. The hospital currently operates on three sites with a total of 549 beds, 3,000 staff, approximately 700 physicians and 400 volunteers. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, the hospital is home to Ontario’s first Centre of Excellence for laparoscopic bariatric surgery; Canada’s first home nocturnal dialysis program and a major cancer program. Humber River’s redevelopment plan, approved by the provincial government, will see it commence construction of Ontario’s first digital hospital in 2011, one that Humber River plans to make a technological and environmental showcase.

”The dedication and commitment of staff and physicians is evident throughout CKHA,” said DiCaita. “As the face and demands of our healthcare system in this province continue to change, the community of Chatham-Kent is very fortunate to have the quality and access to care provided by CKHA.”

Interim President and CEO, Shona Elliott, congratulated Anthony on his new position.

“During Anthony’s tenure with us, he initiated our participation with PIP – a formalized improvement plan to positively affect the flow of patients through the Emergency and Medicine departments. As the Executive Sponsor of !magine, Anthony continued to lead CKHA’s efforts with respect to redevelopment of our facilities in Chatham and Wallaceburg. He also initiated a review of our marketshare to determine the volumes and types of patient care that could potentially be repatriated to our community. We have benefited from Anthony’s diverse background and expertise and wish him well in his new leadership role.”

The VP/CFO portfolio at CKHA includes the Medicine, Emergency, Mental Health and Addictions, Diagnostic Imaging, Central Ambulance Communication Centre, Finance, Health Information Services, Information Systems, Materiel Management and Pharmacy.

CKHA will undertake a recruitment process shortly.


 Conrad's editorial:

 Didn't Anthony start in August 2009 and  within a year leaves CKHA ?   That's only 1 year on the job. His predecessor didn't stay very long either.   I wonder why?


 June 8

CKHA addressing needs at aging facilities in Wallaceburg and Chatham

 Chatham-Kent Health Alliance continues its !magine planning to address the needs of the aging facilities at its Public General campus (Chatham) and Sydenham campus (Wallaceburg).

The !magine Steering Committee, comprised of representatives of the Tri-Board of Directors, the Erie St. Clair LHIN, and hospital management, have continued regular meetings for the past 18 months, diving deeply into issues and opportunities to retool, rebuild and renew its hospitals in keeping with its Strategic Plan.

!magine Committee Chair, Jim Laforet stated, “We recognize that any plans to significantly change or invest in hospital facilities is a complex, two to three year planning process that requires multiple steps with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. We were pleased that the very first step – the LHIN’s endorsement to proceed to the Ministry with a pre-proposal – occurred in March. This allows the local project to get on the Ministry’s radar.”

As part of the planning process, CKHA has:

Received data from medical directors, program leaders and engineering staff

Reviewed community demographics (present and future projections including health demographics)

Initiated a market research study to explore the volume and type of care sought in neighbouring communities that could potentially be repatriated to Chatham-Kent

Held a focus group of community thought leaders to seek insights into methods of community engagement

Endorsed a Board policy which outlines the principles and scope of community engagement which will guide CKHA’s public efforts going forward

Continued to assess the current state of its facilities, including the completion of a multi-year roofing project at Sydenham District Hospital

Regularly reported !magine progress at Tri-Board meetings

Tri-Board Executive Committee Chair, Jennifer Wilson stated: “We look forward to timely Ministry approvals in order to continue our re-development plans. We are also awaiting the provincial recommendations of the Rural and Northern Healthcare Panel. There is urgency in moving forward …Our facilities date back 50 years and have served us well, but we need new facilities that support modern health care delivery and will be there for us long into the future. ”

Shona Elliott, Interim President and CEO, stated: “While we had earlier committed to Fall, Winter and Spring presentations to the public regarding the !magine project, the Committee needs to wait for Ministry approval to move to the next stage of planning. This will allow us to have a clearer idea of our options and possible directions for our facility re-development. At that time, CKHA will again host public meetings in its series called, “CKHA Today & Tomorrow.” (earlier presentations are available at (click on Resources, then on Today and Tomorrow)


June 3

A reminder message from Sheldon


To all:


By now you should have received a notice from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance confirming your membership in the Corporation and information on our role as Members of that Corporation. If you did not, then a mistake has been made or you did not renew by the March 31st deadline. Please reply to this email if you believe you should be a member and did not get the mailing from CKHA.


The Annual Meeting is on June 24th and all interested individuals are invited but only members may vote. A copy of the notice for the annual meeting is attached.


To say that we, as members of the corporation, have been dissappointed in the actions of our elected Directors would be the understatement of the decade.


At meetings of the membership, in caucus, we made a number of requests. They were ignored. Other requests were made and they were not acted on. The Board continued to maintain that we were not a legal assembly and they had the right to ignore our requests. In fact, they suggested they had the obligation to ignore our requests as our meetings were not properly constituted. You will recall their letters of chastisement.


We will have the opportunity on the 24th to decide if our elected members have served us well. That, at least, is a role and responsibilty that the Board acknowledges.


To prepare for the Annual Meeting, a Member's Caucus meeting will be held at follows:


Location        OAKS INN

Date              Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Time              7PM


An ad will be placed in the local paper and announced on the local radio station.


We must have a good attendance at both the caucus meeting and the annual meeting. Spread the word. Bring family and friends.





June 3


From: Ontario Health Coalition


Sent: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 3:31 PM

Subject: [OHC] Save Our Hospitals T-Shirts Available


Save Public Medicare! Information

Hello OHC Members and Supporters,


The Ontario Health Coalition and the Niagara Health Coalition have produced

T-shirts to help with the Save Our Hospitals campaign. The logo on each shirt reads:


Some Cuts Don't Heal:

Save Our Local Hospitals



Each T-Shirt is red with black imprint containing the slogan on the upper left side. (Please see attachment for the art work.)

The cost per T-shirt is $ 10.00 (includes tax). Please use the attached/copied form to order.
Payment can be made in either cash or cheque (made out to the Ontario Health Coalition) due upon ordering. 


Save Our Hospital T-Shirt Order Form


Name:                                                                            Organization (if applicable):


Address:                                                                        City:                                      Postal Code:


E-mail:                                                                       Phone #:                               Alternate Phone #:


Shirt Size (how many of each):         Small(   )      Med(   )       Lrg(   )                                                       

                                                         XLrg(  )       XXLrg(   )   XXXLrg(    )




Total# of shirts ordered:________  x  $10 =  (_____)


* Orders can be e-mailed to, or mailed to 15 Gervais Dr, Suite 305, Toronto ON, M3C 1Y8



Below for office use only:


Date Payment in received_________                    Entered in System Tracking_______


OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list




June 3


Posted By Chatham Daily News

Sir: Re: MPP Standing firm on drug reform. I hope our MPP Maria Van Bommel will forgive me if I reserve my sympathy for patients, who will really be the ones hurt by her government's massive cuts to frontline health care.

This is not the time for our member of provincial parliament to deal with this issue as if it were a chess game -this is about the people in her riding's communities who will have less access to community healthcare, not about pushing her government's political agenda.

There is no question that cutting $750 million out of the system will make it virtually impossible for pharmacists to offer patients the same level of care that they receive today.

My question is, why are reduced levels of health care acceptable to her? Why does she continue to try and convince patients that cutting their frontline healthcare is for their own good? She knows it's not.

It is unfortunate that Mrs. Van Bommel chooses to discount the recent Angus Reid opinion poll on cuts to frontline healthcare. The first to criticize surveys are usually those who don't like the results.

Her constituents have spoken. They say that pharmacies are essential to the community and that the government has a responsibility to ensure that patients have good access to pharmacists in their communities.

Two out of three say that their local MPP has the responsibility to speak out and oppose the cuts to local pharmacies.

Two out of three say that the government removing over half a billion dollars from Ontario pharmacies is indeed a healthcare cut.

We need our MPP to do the right thing and stand up for the people in our communities. We need her to tell her government that these reckless cuts to our frontline healthcare need to stop.

To find out more, visit

-- Randy Luckham Pharmacist/Owner


May 29


This resolution was approved at Fort Erie Council on Tuesday, May 25 and will go before other municipalities in Niagara for support.


The Honourable Deborah Matthews

Minister of Health and Long Term Care

10th Floor, Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto ON M7A 2C4


Honourable and Dear Madam:

Re: Endorsement of Local Recommendations Contained in Ontario Health Coalition Report dated May 17, 2010

At the Council meeting of May 25, 2010 the following resolution was passed respecting the above referenced matter:


WHEREAS the Ontario Health Coalition released its report on May 17, 2010 entitled “Towards Access and Equality:

Realigning Ontarios Approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values’ on Small and Rural Hospital

Services in Ontario, which resulted from hearings they conducted in 12 communities, including South Niagara, conducted

by a panel of health care and health policy experts, and


WHEREAS this report confirms the serious concerns expressed by Niagara municipalities in various resolutions passed by

the Councils of Welland, Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Niagara Falls, Pelham and Thorold, in reference to the effects of hospital

restructuring under the Niagara Health System’s Hospital Improvement Plan, and


WHEREAS the leadership of the NHS, the HNHB LHIN and the MOHLTC has not heretofore responded to these concerns;


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Municipal Council of the Town of Fort Erie that it hereby endorses the following

recommendations contained in the OHC Report under Section la. Access to Care — Local Recommendations:


“6. The provincial government must send an investigator under the provisions of the Public Hospitals Act to

investigate serious complaints and unresolved issues in the Niagara Health System.


Issues regarding finances, human resources, management, quality and access to care in Niagara are among the most

serious that we witnessed in Ontario. This panel supports the requests of the nurses, physicians, municipalities and MPP’s

who have called for a provincial investigator.


In addition to investigating the serious clinical, management and financial issues that have been raised, the investigator

should conduct or set a process for the immediate review and evaluation of the impact of the service cuts and closures in

Niagara. This review should include meaningful and accessible public input. A clear plan to improve access to emergency

care, intensive care, and acute care should be established, with tinielines for implementation. The process should be open

and transparent. The proposals put forward by the municipalities deserve an answer.


8. The provincial government must place a moratorium on closures of emergency departments.


Local Health Integration Networks should be directed to stop the closures of local emergency departments, including those

proposed for amalgamated hospitals. There is no appropriate assessment of capacity and policy to ensure reasonable access

to urgent and emergent care in these regions and restructuring costs have not been assessed or approved. There is poor

alignment of planning for capital redevelopment and proposed changes to services. Provincial policy and planning to meet

baseline service targets and other safeguards for public access must precede further hospital restructuring.~


THAT:The Minister of Health and Long Term Care be respectfully requested to appoint an investigator at the earliest

opportunity to carry out the above referenced investigations, and further


THAT:This resolution be circulated to all area municipalities and Region of Niagara for support and further that it be circulated to all area provincial and federal members, Niagara Health System and the HNHB LHIN.


The Town of Fort Erie respectfully requests that you appoint an investigator at the earliest opportunity to carry out the investigations referenced in the resolution.


We thank you for your attention to this matter which is very important to our community and to others in Niagara.



May 27, 2010


Ontario Health Coalition The Pulse

Newsletter May 2010

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8 tel: 416-441-2502 fax: 416-441-4073

More than 1,100 attend Public Hearings on Future of Hospitals

New Report and Recommendations Based on Public Input Released Across Ontario

The coalition’s non-partisan panel, including Dr. Claudette Chase, Hon. Roger Gallaway, Dr. Tim McDonald, Natalie Mehra, Barbara Proctor RN (ret’d), Kathleen Tod RN (ret’d) have written an extensive report and a set of recommendations based on the input. This report is available on the coalition website at or you can phone or email to get a copy mailed to you.

Public Hearings on the future of small and rural hospitals were held by the OHC in twelve regions through the month of March. The response has been terrific. More than 1, 150 people attended the hearings and we received more than 487 oral and written submissions. This exceeds participation levels in many government public hearings. Key recommendations from the hearings include:

Key recommendations from the hearings include:

1. Dismantle the LHINs.

2. Restore democratic hospital boards with improved oversight, community accountability and requirement to release financial and service planning information.

3. Create policy to provide an expected level of hospital services in all hospitals.

4. Stop the closure of small and rural hospitals.

5. Require the health minister, cabinet and the Ontario legislature to restore accountable and appropriate processes for decisions regarding major service changes and restructuring.

6. Increase Ontario’s hospital funding to meet the national average.

Despite the uniqueness of each locality, there was a remarkable consensus that emerged from the hearings. Meaningful change and a restoration of clear policy, process and democracy is demanded. Improvements in services is desperately needed in some areas. Many witnesses called for improved respect for patients, community members, municipalities and the vital role of our small and rural hospitals in the health system.

Attendance and participation were exceptional. Mayors and other municipal councilors, retired hospital workers and nurses, patients and community members, leaders of local health and social service agencies, faith leaders, representatives of agricultural and economic organizations, and others made presentations at the twelve hearings. In one town, community advisory board

members attended and made a submission. In another community, the hospital CEO phoned in his submission.


– More than 150 people attended. We heard more than 38 presentations from regional mayors, faith leaders, agricultural leaders, nurses, patients, economic task force leaders, concerned community members, and others. There was terrific media coverage and the local coalition - "Save Our Sydenham" did a tremendous job of transcribing presentations and publicizing the event.


– Just over 60 people attended including a number of municipal representatives. Here, the local hospital is slated for closure and the community suffers from a severe shortage of family doctors and poor access to primary care.


– About 150 people attended this hearing on the shores of beautiful Lake Huron. Recent announcements of a new round of hospital cuts were top news, but presenters, including the Friends of the local hospital, the labour council, municipal leaders, a retired hospital executive, and concerned citizens raised concerns about long term changes that have been occurring. Thank you to the "Friends" group who worked hard to publicize the meeting in the community.


– More than 200 people attended and dozens made presentations, including physicians, nurses, a mayor, many patients and concerned community members. Panelists were moved to tears by the presentation of Reilly Anzovino’s family. Reilly is the teen who died after a Boxing Day car accident en route to the hospital in Welland since her local hospital emergency department had been closed.


– More than 140 people attended this hearing just after the hospital announced major cuts to the local hospital. Staff, patients, concerned community members and local union representatives made presentations.

Port Perry

– A small group of 28 people attended, including patients, local hospital advisory committee members and concerned citizens and shared their varied perspectives on care and services at their local hospital.


– More than 140 people attended this packed hearing where concerned citizens raised their experiences and issues. Having already experienced severe hospital cuts, many residents raised their concerns about extreme shortages of family doctors and poor access to primary care.

Burk’s Falls

– Just over 80 people attended. From the mayor and municipal leaders to patients, people raised concerns about lack of access to care and where community donations have gone since the hospital has been closed down.’


– Twenty-four people attended this small but very interesting hearing. One physician raised his concern about the inhumanity of long travelling distances for dialysis patients. Others spoke of the vital role their hospital plays in their community.


– More than 80 people attended and spoke about laboratory privatization, access to care and democratic governance of hospitals. The Friends of Prince Edward County group did a tremendous job publicizing the event around the community. Thank you!

St. Joseph Island/Desbarats

– In this beautiful northern community, the panelists enjoyed sampling local maple syrup before the hearing. Sixty people attended and discussed the shortage of doctors and health professionals, access to care issues and the problems plaguing the Sault Area Hospitals.

New Liskeard

– Just over 40 people attended this hearing to raise issues including improving local addictions and mental health services, improving access in areas with extreme shortages of doctors, and the range of services in the local hospital that has been achieved through visiting specialists and dedication to building the hospital’s capacity.

Quick News Updates

Several Hundred Protesters at Health Minister’s Speech in Toronto

On April 7, concerned citizens and health care workers from Toronto, Kingston, Cobourg, Niagara and other communities joined an OHC protest to raise the issue of hospital cuts and closures. Protesters filled the area in front of the Royal York Hotel with signs, flags and a bagpiper. Cambridge Hospital Cuts Town Hall Meeting

: coincided with a major hockey game. Nonetheless, it was well-attended and garnered lots of media attention. Speakers included representatives from the stroke survivor’s group whose services are cut, the breast feeding support group whose services are also cut, the nurses and the new local health coalition. Natalie Mehra, OHC director attended and presented at the meeting.

St. Marys Hospital Cuts and Town Hall Meeting:

The amalgamated hospital corporation is trying to close this town’s emergency department at night along with an untold number of acute care beds. A meeting called by the local fight-back committee was attended by more than 150 people. Natalie Mehra, OHC director attended and presented at the meeting. There was considerable opposition from the appointees on the local advisory committee for the hospital board.

Oakville P3 Hospital:

The new Oakville hospital, to be built by a privatized P3 arrangement might be the most expensive hospital to be built yet. The local share for a hospital is supposed to be 10% of the construction costs plus the costs of equipping the new hospital. In Oakville, the local share is a whopping $520 million; hundreds of millions more than any other place. A tax increase and long term indebtedness of the municipality will be the result. Natalie Mehra, coalition director, presented to the municipal council. The local coalition organized a public meeting prior to council vote. Despite the outrageous amount of money involved, and despite extreme secrecy of the local hospital and provincial government with regards to the total estimated costs and plans, the local council voted in support of the donation to this P3 project.

Northumberland Hills Hospital Cuts and Fight-Back

Concerned about the closure of the diabetes education clinic, the end of all outpatient rehabilitation services and cuts to 26 hospital beds, concerned community members, Northumberland Hills hospital patients and hospital workers formed the Northumberland Hills Citizen Health Coalition, co-chaired by area residents Patty Park, and Peggy Smith. On Saturday, April 10th, the group rallied together outside of Victoria Hall in Cobourg, with protest signs and impassioned speeches by patients demanding a halt to the planned cuts. Despite the lack of support from local MPP Lou Rinaldi, the Northumberland Hills citizens managed to collect more than 5,000 signatures on their petition to stop the cuts to services and beds at NHH. On April 26th, coalition members travelled to Queen’s Park and were recognized and greeted by Conservative MPP Christine Elliott and had their petition read into the legislature by NDP Health Critic/MPP France Gelinas. Unfortunately, as of April 30th, the NHH has closed the diabetes education clinic; however, the Northumberland Hills citizens still fought back with presentations to town council and a rally outside of Lou Rinaldi’s constituency office on Thursday May 13th.

Peterborough Hospital Peer Review Proposes Deep Cuts

A scathing peer review of the Peterborough hospital recommends the closure of 71 beds and 151.5 full time equivalent positions (mostly nurses). The hospital’s planned number of beds was approximately 490, approved by the Ministry of Health. If these cuts are imposed, the hospital will have 341 beds. The community is outraged, city council has requested the hospital, MPP and LHIN appear before council and the community is getting organized to protect services. The LHIN will vote in June on the hospital’s proposal in response to the peer review recommendations.Ontario Government Introduces New Retirement Act: Bill 21

The Ontario government has just introduced a new piece of legislation regarding retirement homes. Currently, these homes are completely unregulated, though the government is using them to close down hospital beds and take hospital patients. The Ontario Health Coalition strongly objects to any attempt to turn retirement homes into another category of private, for-profit, often multinational chain-owned long term care homes with less regulation. While there is a place for retirement homes, they should not be used to take hospital patients.

Ontario Health Coalition has added to its website an analysis of the Retirement Homes Act (Bill 21). The Standing Committee on Social Policy held public hearings in Toronto on May 10 and 11.




Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

OntarioHealthCoalition mailing list



May 18

Save Our Sydenham welcomes hospital report Posted By BLAIR ANDREWS, SPECIAL TO THE DAILY NEWS

The head of an advocacy group for the Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg is praising a report released Monday by the Ontario Health Coalition.

The report appeals for equity and improved access to hospital services in rural Ontario, the coalition said in a news release.

The 92-page document is based on input received from more than 1,150 people who attended 12 hearings in regions across Ontario in March.

Wallaceburg hosted the first session on March 4.

"I think they did an excellent job," said Jeff Wesley, chair of Save Our Sydenham.

The coalition said it organized its own public hearings after the government's rural and northern health panel, created after hospital closures in small and rural communities, refused to hold any public consultations. "They have confirmed a lot of the things we felt and we've experienced in Wallaceburg," Wesley said. "The coalition has basically done what the rural northern health care and the province should have done from the beginning: go out into the affected communities and listen and learn about what is going on out there."

Key recommendations from the Ontario Health Coalition report, "Toward Access and Equality: Realigning Ontario's Approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values" include:

* Create a basket of services available in every hospital, including the small and amalgamated hospitals. These services include an emergency department, blood, x-ray, ultrasound, inpatient acute and complex continuing care beds, palliative care close to home, rehabilitation and others.

* Ensure that these services are provided at optimum, 20 minutes and at most 30 minutes with average road conditions from residents' homes.

* Phase out the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) within three years and create new local planning organizations with a new mandate that does not include closing rural hospitals.

* Impose a hiring freeze on consultants and plan to increase hospital funding to meet the national average.

"We don't ask for all the services, we just want those ones that are critical to our communities," said Wesley, agreeing with the key recommendations in the report.

For a community like Wallaceburg that has been hard-hit economically, Wesley said access to hospitals and health care has additional importance.

"One of the main considerations and key measures that business and industry look at when they look at locating in communities is do they have a functioning hospital; do they have adequate health care, from both an emergency point of view and from a day-to-day basis for employees," Wesley said.

In addition to the Wallaceburg area, Wesley said SDH also serves the Walpole First Nation, a large agricultural community, Community Living and is available for emergencies in the nearby chemical industry.

Among other issues the report is critical of LHINs. Barb Proctor, an RN, and one of several panelists that traveled Ontario for the hearings, said they heard an "overwhelming consensus that the health-care dollars spent to set up and operate the 14 LHINs across the province could have been better invested in patient care.

"LHINs have not demonstrated improvements in care, only service cuts that leave huge gaps in service delivery," Proctor said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Wesley is anxious to see the report from the government's rural and northern health panel. While he is not sure when that report will be released, he said it could have ramifications for future advocacy efforts in Wallaceburg.

"SOS is waiting and that type of document is either going to call us back into action or give us some peace of mind."

Article ID# 2582750


May 17

Province should consider health coalition's recommendations: Gélinas

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

Recommendations made in a report released by the Ontario Health Coalition May 17 about rural and northern health care should be reviewed and considered by the provincial government, according to Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas.

The Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens' health care advocacy group, “filled the vacuum” left because of gaps in the mandate in the province's own Rural and Northern Health Care Panel, Gélinas said, in a press release.

During Question Period, Gélinas reminded the government about protests in April 2009, when citizens spoke out at Queen's Park about cuts to remote hospitals.
In response to the public's protests, the government announced its Rural and Northern Health Care Panel.

In October, the panel made its mandate known, and it did not include hospitals.  
In response, the Ontario Health Coalition released a report that offered recommendations to improve remote and rural health care, the press release stated.

“The Ontario Health Coalition filled the vacuum and ensured that the voices of rural and northern Ontario were heard,” Gélinas stated.

The coalition organized a seven-member panel, and held 12 public meetings, listened to 1,150 residents and received 487 submissions, she said.

“In the absence of its own report, will the government commit to reviewing the coalition's detailed report and take immediate action that will benefit the health care of Ontarians who live in rural and northern communities?”


May 17

Report blasts health care system



The Observer

An explosive report from a 12-city tour to gage the public mood on Ontario healthcare, blasts the system for secrecy, inaccessibility and deteriorating patient care.

Small and rural hospitals, including Petrolia's CEE, are the subject of a 100-page document being released by the Ontario Health Coalition at Queen's Park today.

The report points to a growing public distrust of the province's healthcare strategy, a lack of confidence in the boards and CEOs that run the hospitals, and a frustration with government-appointed Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

"I'm glad to hear the majority of public opinion is that the LHINs need to go," said Arlene Patterson, president of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition.

"I'm more convinced all the time that the Ministry of Health does not have a plan and I don't believe the LHIN does either."

"People almost everywhere said they felt the LHIN is a buffer for the government," said coalition vice-president Helen Havlik.

She and Patterson were among a group of 100 who spoke at a Wallaceburg hearing in March where they say people expressed fear and anxiety over the future of Sydenham District Hospital and Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital.

"It was widely described as unfair that those who live in larger centres are the only ones with the right to access timely emergency care," the report says of that hearing. "...the public wants protections for basic hospital care, including emergency departments with the ability to stabilize and transfer patients, inpatient beds, chronic care close to home communities, birthing and palliative care."

It went on to say that community members are concerned that the Petrolia hospital is not being maintained properly and that threatened closure of the emergency department will worsen access and compromise recruitment of physicians.

After hearing from a total of 1,150 across Ontario, the coalition said there's growing apprehension that hospital boards and CEOs are undemocratic and at odds with community values.

The report suggests the public is fed up with an arrogance among bureaucrats, ministerial staff, LHIN and hospital executives who make key decisions.

"It is not possible to oversee, co-ordinate and evaluate complex decision-making regarding hospital services without listening to the needs of communities," it reads.

Since the amalgamation of Sarnia General Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital and Petrolia's CEE, Bluewater Health has been incorporated and elected officials do not sit on its board, said Havlik.

"I want to see the public demand that hospitals have elected boards and someone like an ombudsman to ensure the money is being spent appropriately," Patterson said.

"There's no accountability at the board level anymore," Havlik added. "You can't ask questions and you can't see their reports."

The coalition's report makes 22 recommendations including a list of core services it believes all hospitals should provide, as well as a call to comply with the Canada Health Act requirement for equitable access to medical services.

The 12 public hearings reflected in the paper were attended by a panel of seven, including former Sarnia MAP Roger Gallaway and Dr. Tim McDonald of CEE Hospital.

Article ID# 2582221


May 17 pm


SOS discusses Ontario Health Coalition report

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.


May 17


Good Morning:

Attached please find a copy of the Ontario Health Coalition Report. It is long (92 pages), comprehensive and well written. I am pleased to provide comments related to Sydenham District Hospital. If you have further questions or wish to conduct an interview please contact me via email or by phone at 519-436-4612.


Wallaceburg and SOS were pleased to take a leadership role and be the location of the first hearing back on March 4th . The needs and concerns of SDH play a prominent role in the report.

The Hearings were held because no one else was listening nor asking our community what we thought – 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.

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?

Emergency departments are an essential service!

What else does the report conclude:

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.

All the best,



Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8

tel: 416-441-2502 fax: 416-441-4073 email:

May 17, 2010 For Immediate Release

Ontario Health Coalition: Throne Speech Response

Fears that New Hospital Funding System Threatens Patient Access,

Leads to Privatization

The Ontario Health Coalition released a report appealing for equity and improved access to hospital services in rural Ontario. The report "Toward Access and Equality: Realigning Ontario’s Approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values" is based on input received from more than 1,150 people who attended 12 hearings in regions across Ontario in March 2010. The coalition organized its own public hearings after the government’s own rural and northern health panel, created after hospital closures in small and rural communities, refused to hold any public consultations. In total the coalition received 487 submissions into the state and future of local hospitals. Today’s report has been written and submitted to the Ontario Health Coalition by a non-partisan panel including doctors, nurses, health professional, representatives of each region of Ontario, and representatives active in each political party.

Key recommendations include:

• Create a basket of services available in every hospital, including the smallest and amalgamated hospitals. These services include an emergency department, blood, x-ray, ultrasound, inpatient acute and complex continuing care beds, palliative care close to home, rehabilitation and others.

• Ensure that these services are provided, at optimum, 20 minutes in average road conditions and at most 30 minutes in average road conditions from residents’ homes.

• Step up efforts to address shortages of nurses, physicians and health professionals.

• A moratorium on emergency department closures and revision of the closures of ALC/complex continuing care beds across the province.

• Phase out the LHINs within three years and create new local planning organizations with a new mandate that does not include closing rural hospitals.

• Restore democratic hospital boards and curb the powers of government-appointed hospital supervisors.

• Reform hospital performance measures to restore compassion and access to care as primary.

• Impose a hiring freeze on consultants and plan to increase hospital funding to meet the national average.


"We heard stories of poor care practices resulting from hospital bed cuts whereby patients are forced out of hospital too quickly in a bid to empty a hospital bed, then spend most of the rest of their lives in the emergency department with poor quality of life until they die," said Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "In the worst instances, we heard of patients left waiting on stretchers in emergency departments for days without food, without enough nursing care, under bright lights, with no privacy. Whole communities have lost access to vital services and now must travel 100 km or more to access care. The

cuts are neither serving small hospitals well, nor are they serving larger and regional hospitals well; as patients are piling into already-overwhelmed hospitals in larger centres when their local services are cut. We have concluded that urgent change is required. We have put together a set of recommendations to restore the principles of access, compassion, equality and democracy in our health system."

"Our panel has heard an overwhelming consensus that the millions of healthcare dollars spent to set up and operate the 14 LHINs could have been better invested in patient care. LHINs have not demonstrated improvements in care, only service cuts that leave huge gaps in service delivery," said Barb Proctor, RN, and one of the panelists that traveled Ontario. "We heard over and over that individual citizens and municipal leaders trying to contact their LHIN with questions or input have been met with arrogance or received no response at all. The LHINs are viewed by rural and northern communities as "a firewall between the government and the people."

"Closing services in small community hospitals downloads travel costs to patients," noted Dr. Claudette Chase, another panelist. "It is my greatest concern that many patients cannot afford access to care when it is moved out of their local community."

"The pride of people in the small communities we visited certainly is an inspiration to us all. We heard that we must not let the provincial government and its creature the LHINs destroy health care for those of us who do not choose to live in urban centres," added Dr. Tim Macdonald, another panelist.

"We heard clearly the great frustration of communities removed from all control of local hospitals," observed the Honourable Roger Gallaway, former MP and one of the panelists. "The McGuinty government has created a group of elites called CEOs who control hospitals even to the point of contriving their boards of directors. Communities now have no decision making function in community hospitals."

"This is a wake up message that our health care system is in an ever-deepening crisis," added Kathleen Tod, RN, another panelist. "Having spent half my nursing career working in a busy emergency department, I thought I had seen it all. After listening to the presentations across Ontario I realize it was not even close."

"The coalition deserves thanks for its hard work in organizing the panels and for writing such a thorough report," said France Gelinas, MPP and one of the panelists. "I am disappointed that the government’s own panel on rural and northern health care failed to consult the public about the future of their local hospitals and health system."

For more information please contact:

Ontario Health Coalition

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305

Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8



May 15

Rural, northern health care gets failing grade


A "shocking" new report sounds the alarm bells about the quality of health care in rural and northern communities.

The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) will release a report next week that says rural and northern patients feel they are "lesser than their urban counterparts," when it comes to health.

“The testimony we heard across the province was shocking in the total lack of any hospital planning to meet population need for services," said OHC spokesman Natalie Mehra.

"It showed such a high-handed disregard for all of the voices of community members, elected municipal government, physicians, nurses, hospital staff," she told me Thursday.

The report says there's widespread mistrust of the controversial government-appointed Local Health Integration Networks, (LHINs) that are responsible for implementing massive changes to health care in communities across the province.

"Public opposition to the LHINs and the erosion of democratic principles in hospital boards and public policy is universal," the report says, and recommends they be phased out over three years.

The report also calls for a moratorium on closures of hospital emergency departments and is asking the government to develop a province-wide plan to ensure timely services for trauma victims in rural areas.

The report says ambulance response times can be 30-45 minutes for traumas from car and farm accidents in rural areas. The OHC recommends services should be on average 20 minutes from residents' homes, and, at most, 30 minutes away.

The report also calls for an investigation into the Niagara-area cuts.

"It is this panel's opinion that the provincial government should send an investigator into the Niagara Health System. There is a very high level of public anger at the hospital board," the report notes.

More than 1,150 people across the province attended the OHC hearings in March.

Bed closures are forcing patients to drive long distances for care.

The closure of outpatient rehab in places like Kincardine and Cobourg means patients must now travel as much as 100 km for treatment. The same goes for patients who need dialysis. Imagine undergoing dialysis two or three times a week -- and then having to travel a great distance home.

New Democrat critic France Gelinas was part of the health coalition panel that travelled the province.

"There has been a systemic push to take services away from rural areas of Ontario and bring them closer to the bigger centres," she told me Thursday.

"This has come with a tremendous cost to the small rural and northern communities."

A hospital is the heart of a small community, she said. Closing it can be devastating.

"It is the social fabric of the community, because in the smaller community the hospital is a hub. They bring the critical mass of workers and professionals that help the communities on many fronts," she said.

Health Minister Deb Matthews had not seen the report and would not comment on it directly.

"We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible health care to people, no matter where they live in the province," she said. The ministry has its own panel of rural and northern experts looking at health care.

"I am very much looking forward to seeing what they are recommending and moving on their recommendations," Matthews said.

Sometimes good health care isn't just a matter of dollars and cents. It's a question of common sense. When patients are forced to drive long distances on often snowy roads to get the care they need, it makes no sense at all.

Article ID# 2580764


Chatham-Kent Health Alliance striving towards balanced budget

 By CKDP Staff

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance announced Thursday (May 13) changes that will streamline care and deliver on its commitment to operate within its Ministry-funded resources.

Shona Elliott, Interim President and CEO said, “We express our appreciation to employees, physicians and volunteers for their dedication and contributions to quality patient care for families and the communities of Chatham-Kent. Through their innovation and commitment we are able to introduce some further opportunities for efficiency that will not result in any reduction of service or access to care for the people of Chatham-Kent.”

Anthony DiCaita, VP/CFO acknowledged that these are difficult times in Ontario’s Hospitals, while they await funding announcements for 2010/11.

CKHA’s balanced-budget plans include:

Consolidating Chatham’s Short-Stay Surgical Unit and In-patient Surgical Program while maintaining current access for surgical patients

Investigating the addition of ‘flex beds’ when patient visits require it

Consolidating Chatham’s adult and paediatric Pre-admit Clinics and Day Surgery

Selected skill mix changes where appropriate & maximized scope of practice

0% economic increase in non-union salaries while honouring current collective agreements as legislated by Bill 16

Implementing efficiencies to achieve benchmark performance at the 25th percentile

Implementation of the 09/10 Deloitte Operational Review

Reviewing leading practice opportunities identified by the Ontario Hospital Association

These changes, required to achieve a 2010/11 balanced budget, will result in some adjustments in the staffing complement in some departments. CKHA will make every effort to minimize adverse effects on employees through Early Retirement offers, Voluntary Exits and other options available through collective agreements.

Approximately 15 unionized positions would potentially be affected, however with realignment of staff, the possible staff reduction is expected to be 6 positions. Meetings were held with all union leadership this week. In the last calendar year, CKHA has also reduced management positions and has done realignments to support front line staff and direct patient care.

In the 2010/11 budget, CKHA has planned for the continuation of 24/7 Emergency Departments in Chatham and Wallaceburg; and no permanent bed closures.

CKHA’s operating budget is approximately $140 million, and it employs 1300 staff.


May 14, 2010

Nursing Week 2010: Not much to celebrate as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance cuts registered nursing positions

CHATHAM - A Nursing Week event scheduled today at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance will be a subdued affair - 15 registered nurses have been told that their positions are being cut, just prior to a scheduled 11:30 barbeque lunch outside the hospital.

"Chatham-Kent's mission statement is: Caring people, caring for people," notes Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA). "How ironic that Chatham-Kent decision-makers have chosen Nursing Week to deliver the news to our skilled and dedicated registered nurses that they will no longer be able to care for their patients."

Haslam-Stroud notes that the cuts will particularly target the care received by the youngest and the oldest patients. "RNs are being cut in pediatric day surgery and outpatient care, where many elderly patients receive care. In addition, the hospital is cutting a lactation consultant, which flies in the face of research showing that new mothers need support to ensure their newborns have the best possible start to life."

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance planned cuts will see:

* The short-stay unit at the main campus closed completely - two of those beds will move to the main campus in-patient surgery unit, and four full-time, three part-time RNs cut.

* The cutting of two full-time, two part-time and one casual part-time RNs from its pre-admit unit - gutting care for surgical patients.

* Moving its paediatric day surgery and pre-admit unit to adult day surgery.

* Cutting care in its ambulatory care unit and cutting one full-time RN, and possibly one part-time RN.

* Halving its lactation consultant RNs, from two to one.

"Our RNs are extremely concerned that our elderly patients will no longer receive the appropriate level of post-operative monitoring they require and will be at increased risk of suffering complications," says Haslam-Stroud. "The hospital plans to replace the RN positions with registered practical nurses, whose scope of practice allows them to care for stable patients who do not require the level of care and critical thinking that RNs bring.

"ONA believes these layoffs - set to take place in about five months - are in contravention of the message sent by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in its Excellent Care for All Act. The Ministry has clearly said that RNs, RPNs and nurse practitioners are to each augment - not replace - the care provided by one another ( yet Chatham-Kent intends to cut RNs to the detriment of patient care."

ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

Sheree Bond

Media Relations Officer

Communications and Government Relations Team

Ontario Nurses' Association

85 Grenville Street, Suite 400

Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

(416) 964-8833, ext. 2430


CKHA gets nurse cash


May 13

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is receiving $233,398 from the Ontario government to fund surgical assist nurses, as part of Nurse Week celebrations.

In announcing the funding, Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Pat Hoy said, in a written release: "Nurses play a key role in delivering health care and are now using more of their skills to take on diverse oles within the system, benefitting us all."

He said the CKHA is one of just 20 hospitals in Ontario to receive the new 100-per-cent annualized base funding.

He added the funding helps decrease surgical wait times and supports recruitment and retention strategies for nurses by presenting new opportunities for career enhancement and skills development.

The CKHA is celebrating National Nurses Week to recognize the contributions that local nurses make in caring for Chatham-Kent patients and their families.

This year, CKHA will celebrate its 465 registered nurses, 172 registered practical nurses, and 15 nurse practitioners.

Crystal Houze, chief nursing executive/chief health professionals officer, said, in a written release, "over the past year, CKHA's nursing staff has made vast contributions to improving the quality and safety of care delivered to patients at Chatham- Kent Health Alliance's campuses in Wallaceburg and Chatham."

She said CKHA nurses continue to become "best practice champions" to help implement best practice guidelines.

This effort has included implementing processes for the prevention of falls and pressure ulcers, and guidelines to assist patients with managing hypertension, she added.


May 13

Good Morning SDH Members and SDH Board Members:

I have been away so I apologize for this late response back.

 A sincere thank you to the SDH Members for continuing to be passionate about our community and our hospital. Thanks also to Sheldon for his efforts to keep us all working together.

 I was disappointed in the response from the SDH Board Chair not because what she says is incorrect but rather because the SDH Board had a golden opportunity to reach out to the SDH Members in a cooperative, proactive and creative manner and they missed the opportunity. I was one of those who suggested to Sheldon that we approach the issue of membership dollars and by-law changes in an upfront and cooperative way to give the SDH Board a chance to respond in a likewise manner. If the SDH Board wants us to play by the “letter of the law” we can certainly do that but this would not be in the best interest of either side. I will tell you that in all my years in elected office I never once refused a delegation or input to Council because someone did not follow every procedural step to the “letter of the law”. Why? Because they had an inherent right to provide input and their input, whether I agreed with it or not, was of benefit to the decision makers around the Council table.

Membership Fees

 The responsibilities of the Board shall include, without limitation: Section 5.11 (w) – “from time to time, make such rules as it may deem necessary or desirable for the better management, operation and maintenance of the Corporation, provided, however, that any such rule shall conform with the provisions of the Letters Patent and this By-Law.”

 Solution: Make a rule that each year an improvement project be designated for SDH in an amount that matches the annual membership fees collected (the actual funds can come from any budget) and where necessary and desirable ask the SDH members to assist in implementing the project with volunteer hours and if needed additional volunteer dollars.

 This would be a creative, positive and team building answer to this issue. What a great story.

 By-Law Changes  

 It is the SDH Board that has the authority to pass by-laws but those by-laws, in turn, must come to the annual meeting for adoption, rejection or amendment . In  addition, business transacted at the annual meeting includes “new business” (4.01 (b) (vii)) which includes business brought up at the annual meeting by members of the SDH Corporation.

 Let me re-iterate that I was one of those who suggested to Sheldon to try the approach that he did in a spirit of cooperation and team work. If that cooperation and team work is not returned then I suggest strongly that the above two points (and several others in the SDH By-Laws) can be used to achieve the exact opposite. This would not be in the best interest of either party.

Solution: Whether you accept the requests of the SDH Members to be procedurally correct or not you now have an idea of what the concerns and desires of the members are. If I were a SDH Board Member or even the Chair I would take those concerns, review them, modify them if necessary and on my own initiative put forth a compromise at the SDH  Board meeting for adoption at the annual meeting. At this point all of the SDH Members attending the annual meeting can accept or reject your compromise. I would suggest they would accept a fair compromise.

 Finally, if we all put our shields down and open our eyes to the possibilities before us we can come together on these two issues and move forward in a positive manner.

 I look forward to a response from the SDH Board.

 All the best,

Jeff Wesley

SDH Member


May 3rd

Sydenham District Hospital Corporation Members


Leah McArthur, Board Chair


April 30, 2010


Unofficial Meeting Held March 9, 2010

Good day,

I received a letter from Mr. Sheldon Parsons on behalf of a number of SDH members who met on March 9th and discussed SDH by-laws. From that meeting the group requested that three by-law amendments be considered by the SDH Board and, as well, proposed a resolution regarding the disposition of membership fees.

Just a point of clarification regarding membership fees – these fees are considered general revenues like any other revenue source and are guided by accounting practices for our industry. If the members wish to direct their membership fees to a specific cause, these are then no longer considered ‘membership fees’ but restricted donations and then would not serve the purpose for which they are intended – providing the ability to vote at the annual general meeting, elect directors and officers, etc. Approving facility maintenance projects or allocating operational funds is clearly outside the scope of the Corporation Members.

There is a provision in the SDH by-laws under Article 4.02 for the Board Chair to call a special meeting of the Corporation and again this was not followed for the March 9th gathering which included some members. There is also a process for amendments to by-laws, under Article 13, and this too was not followed. A resolution proposed through an informal venue is also not valid. Hence, the Board of Directors is not in a position to consider the request made to amend the by-laws nor the ‘resolution’, as these requests have no official standing.

It is the Board of Directors that must approve the calling of a special meeting of Members. Notice of a special meeting of Members must include the purpose for the meeting and must be sent to each member of the Corporation to ensure that the same opportunity is provided to each member to attend the meeting and hear the discussion.

If the Members wish to request a special meeting for a specific purpose within their purview through the proper process, I will be pleased to put the request before the Directors in keeping with our by-laws. This requires that at least 23 members send in writing, or sign, a request for a special meeting indicating the purpose for the meeting and send this to S. Elliott, Corporate Secretary, at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, PO Box 2030, Chatham N7M 5L9.

Thank you for your support of the Sydenham Campus, our Board of Directors, and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Cc: B. Slack, Vice-Chair, SDH J. Wilson, Chair, SJH   M. Fair, Chair, PGH 

S. Elliott, Corporate Secretary & Interim President & CEO, CKHA


To all:


In case you have not rec'd this, a copy of the Board's decision regarding our requests for by-law amendments is attached.


I had hoped that the Board of Directors would have been more receptive to our requests.


We had originally scheduled our next Member's Caucus meeting for tomorrow night but I was waiting for good news from the Board.


We will re-schedule for a date in late May or June to discuss our options.





March 31

Bailey blast health networks


The Observer (Sarnia)

Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MPP Bob Bailey continued to attack the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) system Tuesday, calling it "nothing but a political slush fund."The opposition intends to uncover the reasons behind a "quiet cancellation" of a legislative review for the LHINs, Bailey said."This is a big story for us. We raised at least five or six questions in the House about it (Tuesday)."

Bailey has repeatedly lambasted the LHINs in recent weeks, saying they lack accountability and have awarded numerous untendered consulting contracts to their Liberal friends.

Ontario created 14 integrated networks in 2006 to do regional healthcare planning and distribute healthcare dollars to hospitals, agencies and support services.The Conservative's latest accusation is that a scheduled review of the health networks was canceled in the recent provincial budget."(The cancellation) was buried somewhere in the budget in a nondescript location," Bailey said. "They used a budget bill to strip accountability out of their own legislation." He said recent revelations that millions of dollars in untendered contracts were awarded by the LHINs convinced the Liberals to cancel the review.

But Liberal MPP Maria VanBommel of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex says the review has not been canceled, just postponed.  "We still say there will be a review but the timeframe has been changed," she said.There are no specifics about a new review date, however, it must take place within two years, according to VanBommel.She said the Conservative bashing of the LHIN system is unfounded and that it's a better system than the old district health council bureaucracy, which included regional government offices and far more expense."The LHINs bring decision-making closer to the local level," VanBommel said. "They are still new and there's a learning curve for everyone, including the LHINs."The Opposition's allegation that more than $7 million worth of untendered contracts have been awarded by the LHINs is old news, she added. "They're really going back in history. The government has changed the rules about all of that and the process is changed."There are now clear guidelines surrounding contracts."She said the Liberals are happy to answer all questions about Ontario healthcare and have investigated each Conservative accusation about the LHINs."There's no dirty little secret. There's no secrets at all, and I think the LHINs are getting better at the delivery of healthcare."

In July, the LHINs take over the added responsibility of longterm care from the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care."We don't want to do a review until they've had a chance to get used to all their responsibilities," VanBommel said.

The Liberal's reluctance to reappoint Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin for a full term is connected to the Opposition's accusations about the LHIN, Bailey added."Andre Marin was investigating the LHINs and had given his draft report to the government," he said. "We're wondering what's in that report. We think it's all tied together."The government gave Marin a six-month extension to his term just this week.

Article ID# 2514525


March 17, 2010

Hudak blasts local LHIN

David Gough    QMI Agency

WALLACEBURG — Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak took aim at the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network yesterday, accusing it of handing out the kind of untendered contracts that produced the provincial eHealth scandal.

Hudak said the regional health bureaucracy spent $650,000 on untendered contracts for well-connected consultants. The untendered contract spree is outrageous given the ongoing controversy surrounding the possible closure of the emergency department at the Sydenham District Hospital, he told a press conference outside the hospital Wednesday.

The LHIN didn't immediately return calls but later issued a written statement acknowledging untendered contacts were used in the past.

But spokesperson Shannon Sasseville said the LHIN abandoned the practice after the province strengthened procurement rules and guidelines.

"The Erie St. Clair LHIN no longer has untendered contracts and will continue to comply with all provincial procurement directives," the statement said.

Hudak called LHINs a make work project for friends of the Liberal government.

"We're witnessing now a growing pattern of McGuinty-Liberal appointees handing out fat, untendered contracts to well-connected consultants in a manner very much like we saw during the eHealth boondoggle," Hudak said.

LHINs are unaccountable, unelected, anonymous regional bureaucracies that the McGuinty government hides behind when tough decisions have to be made in health care, Hudak said.

"I think the money could be much better invested in frontline care like emergency room services in Wallaceburg or down in Niagara Peninsula where I'm from."

Examples Hudak cited of untendered contracts handed out by the Erie-St. Clair LHIN include:

• A contract with Keller and Associates that paid $650 per day to oversee other LHIN contracts.

• The firm Black Stone Partners received a $19,000 untendered contract to create a "value based culture" at the LHIN. Hudak said Black Stone quickly demonstrated this 'value based' culture by overbilling twice the amount of the initial contract – more than $38,000 in all.

• A Liberal-friendly consultant billed patients and families $45 for a book entitled "Stop Rising Health Care Costs."

When the future of the Wallaceburg ER is threatened it is unacceptable to see health-care dollars go into consultants pockets, Hudak said.

"While local families are fighting for their hospital, Liberal-friendly consultants across Ontario, middle managers and health care executives were getting rich."

He pointed out that between 2006 and 2009, total executive salaries at the LHINs increased by 213 per cent, and the average salary of a LHIN CEO is now more than $261,000.

In its rebuttal, the LHIN said consultants were hired at first to ensure it had the required resources and expertise to court out its mandate. Since then, hiring more full-time employees has allowed it to use fewer contract employees and consultants, the statement said.

Article ID# 2496005


March 10


- Trish Douma CLAC Southwestern Ontario regional director

Sir: The Christian Labour Association of Canada strongly supports the current Ontario Health Care Coalition panel tour as it canvasses opinion and public feeling from northern and rural Ontario communities.

Last week in Wallaceburg, the panel made its first stop to hear from citizens, community groups and organizations about the possible closure of the emergency department at the Sydenham Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. This is all about democracy, letting the people who pay taxes to fund our health-care system have a voice. It was an excellent opportunity for all voices to be heard, young or old, strong or feeble.

CLAC, Local 303, made a presentation to the panel on behalf of its 1,300 members, including the 400-plus who are employed by CKHA, nearly 100 of whom are employees at Sydenham. CLAC called for more accountability for the hospital and the LHIN, more dollars to be spent on frontline care instead of idle management and bureaucracy, and equal access to community health care for all Ontarians. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Hudak on LHIN'S

PC leader would scrap local health networks


MARCH 7, 2010

Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak said Saturday that a Conservative government will abolish the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) model that the Liberals established with fanfare a few years ago because it has become a "catastrophic failure."

Speaking to reporters at the Progressive Conservative party annual general meeting in Ottawa, Hudak said the LHINs are putting money into the pockets of Liberal friends.

"They are taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of frontline care to feather the pockets of friends of the Liberal government and expensive middle managers," Hudak said.

"We’ve seen the number of people at the LHINs making $100,000 a year, increase by some 150 per cent, I believe in less than three years, so there’s no doubt Dalton McGuinty’s broken LHIN model has got to go."

Hudak said a Conservative government will seek advice from health care experts on how to proceed.

The Champlain LHIN, which represents Eastern Ontario, has been in the crosshairs of the Tories recently after a report, later denied, that it had awarded an untendered contract to the Courtyard Group, a Toronto-area consulting firm with Liberal ties that was caught up in the eHealth scandal.

The Champlain LHIN clarified the report, saying the contract had been tendered and awarded to the lowest bidder — the Courtyard Group.

The other bid was from Deloitte & Touche. A February LHIN statement said that bid was omitted from the contract file "due to a clerical error."

But that didn’t stop the Tories during the Ottawa West-Nepean byelection from constantly linking the Champlain LHIN to the untendered contract scandal.

Created in early 2006, 14 LHINs replaced 16 health councils so that, for the first time in Ontario, regional health authorities would be given power to control their own health care spending and set local health priorities.

The LHINs came under Conservative fire early for costing about double the health council model, but then-health minister George Smitherman said the LHINs, based on regional health authorities in other provinces, would play a much more significant role.

About nine government-appointed board members per LHIN plan, manage and fund everything from hospitals to home care.

The Champlain LHIN serves about 1.1 million people. It includes Ottawa and parts of Renfrew, Lanark, Prescott and Russell, and Stormont Dundas and Glengarry counties.

The LHINs have not been problem-free.

The Champlain LHIN recently had to inject $1.7 million into the region’s home-care program after the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) overspent its $180-million budget by $6.5 million, prompting the abrupt resignation of program head Sheila Bauer from the $168,000-a-year job back in November.

It left 56,000 dying, disabled and elderly Eastern Ontarians at risk of losing crucial services before the end of the fiscal year on March 31.

And about 300 people had been stranded in hospital beds, causing bed shortages, long emergency-room waits and cancelling surgeries.

In January, interim CCAC boss and vice-president at The Ottawa Hospital Cameron Love said he’d cleared the backlog, stopped the agency from overspending and was finalizing a plan to eliminate its $5.4 million deficit by March 2



March 10 


Comments from Ray Pickering  who attended the OHC Hearings on March 4th.


Ray Pickering wrote:


Hello Conrad

Just wanted to let you know that I thought the meeting went well.

For the first time since we started this journey of trying to get control of our hospital again

I felt encouraged and positive when I left the meeting.

There was a good cross section of people and personal stories represented by the speakers.

I liken the running of rural hospitals to the personal stories that came out during the Winter Games.

By that I mean. There were many stories of Canadian athletes that came from small, rural communities  across this country of ours, that through one thing or another, lost their government funding or did not have enough money of their own to keep training and thus fulfill their dream of competing in Vancouver.


When this did happen the local communities got together and one way or another they raised the necessary funds for those athletes.  This is how we take care of our own and we do not need people from Queens Park telling us how to keep  our SDH running. We can tell them. This is how we have done it in the past and this is how we must do it in the future.


I thank you and the folks at SOS for all your hard work and dedication to this valuable project.


Keep up the good work and I am sure it will pay off.


Ray Pickering.


March   9


C-K cut out of physician funding

Posted by Erica Bajer, The Daily News

Chatham-Kent is the most underserviced community in the province when it comes to family doctors.

But the municipality has been cut out of an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care program that offered funding to lure badly needed doctors.

"It's a huge loss for us," said Frances Roesch, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance's director of medical affairs and recruitment. "It's very frustrating."

The ministry revamped its medically underserviced area program Friday, adopting new rules that eliminate Chatham-Kent, Sarnia, Woodstock and St. Thomas, along with others in the area, from the provincial incentives.

"Of all the family physicians we've recruited in the past few years . . . they were all able to access funds through the program," Roesch said. "It was incentive money we were able to offer them as the most underserviced area in the province."

She noted the money wasn't coming out of the local physician recruitment wallet and was sometimes used along with incentive money through the Every Life Counts campaign.

Roesch said Chatham-Kent won't be able to access funding through the new ministry program because the municipality isn't considered rural.

In the past, the health ministry used 10 factors, including socio-economic situations and isolation, to decide whether a community was underserviced and could have access to the provincial cash.

That's now being replaced with a so-called "index of rurality," determined by travel time to a referral centre and population density.

To qualify for the incentives, a municipality has to score 40 or above.

Chatham-Kent's score is 11, Sarnia's 10, Woodstock's 18, and St. Thomas's 7.


SOS Toll Free Phone Calls

March 7, 2010

A caller asked that SOS inform the auditor general about misuse of funds by the CKHA.  The caller stated that the CKHA is not a good steward of MOH funds, and that Sydenham did not receive their proper amount.  The caller felt that the announcement of a new building in Wallaceburg was a gross misuse of public fund. The original SDH building is only 54 years old, and the addition is only 43 years old.

This caller is correct in the reasoning that there appears to be creative accounting happening.

A caller explained about lack of information being provided about parking costs, at the Chatham Site, which lead him to have to pay a lot of money each day to visit his wife.  A  more economical method of paying for parking was explained when the caller’s wife was moved to Wallaceburg.

He further states that his wife, upon arrival in Wallaceburg was taken to the x-ray department to an x-ray. She had to be lifted onto the x-ray table. He asked where the table with the hydraulic lift was, which would have allowed his wife ease of transfer, and was told that Chatham took the table.

The gutting of the Sydenham campus continues, but no, there are no plans to close the ER, or to further downsize other programs.


Thanks for coming to  the Ontario Health Coaltion Democratic Public Hearings at the OAKS on Thursday, March 4. 


 It would be interesting to hear from you so that we can get  your personal perception of this meeting. 


Please Contact us and tell us what you thought of the meeting.    What did you friends say?     Positive and negative comments will be  most appreciated.    You can also email me directly:




Conrad Noel SOS Vice Chair


Friday, March 5


Speakers take aim at local LHIN

Chatham Daily News

The Sydenham hospital is needed, while there is little need for provincial bureaucracy.

Those were two of the main messages heard by an Ontario Health Coalition panel Thursday in Wallaceburg.

The health panel is examining the future of small, rural and northern hospitals. The coalition's hearing at the Oak's Inn was the first of 12 that will be held across the province. The hearings will wrap up March 27.

Various people provided information and told stories, some personal, about their health care experiences. Overall, 28 people, including many from other rural centres, such as Strathroy, Petrolia and Leamington, addressed the health panel.

Adrien McCabe, a resident of Oil Springs, said she feel let down by the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

McCabe said her husband Alistair went to the hospital in September of 2008, and was refused a biopsy in London because it was outside the LHIN in which they resided. He died a month later from cancer.

"It's geographic genocide," she said. McCabe said she was looking for answers on why her husband was not given treatment. She decided to tell her story at the public hearing on Thursday.

"I had gotten discouraged with not getting any results with the contact with the health care system," McCabe said.

After going public with her story at the meeting, she said she feels better. "I feel better that I don't have to go through this all by myself now."

Among the speakers at the hearing were mayors Steve Arnold from St. Clair Township, Don McGugan from Brooke-Alvinston and Chatham-Kent mayor Randy Hope. All spoke about the importance of the Wallaceburg hospital to their communities.

"It doesn't matter whether you are talking about people from Wallaceburg, Walpole Island, St. Clair Township, anywhere; people see the value of in having a viable hospital, in a viable emergency department here in Wallaceburg," said Jeff Wesley, chair of the Save Our Sydenham (SOS) group.

Dr. Bill Currier, chairman of the Wallaceburg Community Task Force, which recently attracted two significant employers to set up in Wallaceburg, said the presence of a hospital was imperative in getting the two new industries.

"Without the hospital we would have lost both opportunities," Currier said.

Many speakers suggested that the LHIN be removed as an unnecessary level of bureaucracy, and the savings passed on to provide more immediate health care.

Panel member Roger Gallaway, a retired Liberal MP, said he heard a consensus message of how there is a failure of the LHINs to communicate with the people in the community. It has been a total failure, Gallaway said.

"That came across loud and clear." Gallaway called LHINs "antidemocratic."

"We are living in age of experts tell us what is best for the communities, I think it's time for the communities to tell the experts what is best for their communities," Gallaway said.

The coalition panel includes members from all of the mainstream political parties, said Natalie Mehra, coalition director and panel member.

The government's Northern and Rural Health Care Panel is supposed to hold public hearings, but not until after it has submitted recommendations to the health minister.

Mehra said for months the coalition asked the Liberal government to hold public hearings on the issue, with no luck.

"We thought we would do it ourselves," explained Mehra.

The coalition is scheduled to release its report on what they heard in the public meetings in April. The report from the province's health care panel is expected around the same time.

Article ID# 2477844


March 5th

Letters to the Editor      Chatham Daily News


Sir: It was not surprising but rather shocking to read that there was a full emergency department in Chatham on Feb. 11 and that Sydenham Campus received six patients by ambulance. Statistically, there has been an average of three such instances in a given month. Mathematically, that means 36 frightened patients from Chatham were sent away from their own local health-care facility in Chatham.

We wonder how these last six patients felt of not being accommodated at their own local hospital in Chatham? We should also survey the last 30 Chatham patients who could not be accommodated in Chatham because their own ER facility would not accommodate them.

These patients should empathize with Sydenham patients that are unwillingly forced to go to Chatham.

We all ask ourselves how much longer and how many times a year must patients from the Sydenham Campus catchment area fear the unknown of being shipped to Chatham when Sydenham Campus should and could adequately meet their emergency needs?

Stress and fear are two major factors that are NOT conducive to the healing process. The fear of the unknown is the worst possible fear when one's life is being threatened.

The question that my wife and I often ask ourselves is why can't the local LHIN and the CKHA openly announce that there has been, is, and will continue to have a long-term need of two viable ERs?

Viable meaning sufficient acute beds at Sydenham to accommodate patients requiring hospitalization here in Wallaceburg. Five beds is not enough and has not been enough ever since CKHA imposed its near-final rape to Sydenham Campus.

When will the LHIN admit that its great plans for an urgent care centre is not adequate if it does not include a viable, well-equipped ER in Wallaceburg with sufficient acute beds?

We know the LHIN has asked "that hospitals provide contingency plans to help ensure that we can keep our ED open." On Facebook, Gary Switzer goes on to write that "We need both". If that is the case, the incident of a full ER in Chatham proves the point that Sydenham Campus needs to remain as a hospital, not only for the next few budget years but for the next 50 budget years.

-- Conrad & Fleurette Noel Wallaceburg



Sir: Low patient volumes are a huge concern for the Chatham- Kent Health Alliance

That is what I recently read in The Chatham Daily News. I recently brought my son to our local Chatham hospital for services in the emergency department. My son was treated well but we waited to see a doctor for three and half hours. I am told that is a good wait; some have waited longer.

When I questioned staff about their fast-track clinic I was told that it operates until 4 p.m. with a nurse practitioner and at 4 p.m., a doctor is available.

I realize the doctor shortage and of the different needs of different patients, but if a doctor was available to see patients regularly, then perhaps patients would not go elsewhere to be seen by a doctor. I have personally used the services of a nurse practitioner before and she was very helpful, but just the same, she was not a doctor.

Perhaps if a sick or injured patient was sure to get needed help on a timely manner by a doctor at some point, they would not feel the need to go elsewhere in hopes of faster service, including travel time.

I have spoken to people who travel to other cities for hospital services that can be done right here in Chatham-Kent but due to wait times and the odds of being seen by a doctor, they have chosen to go elsewhere. In some cases, they were seen, diagnosed and treated, including travel times, faster elsewhere than those waiting in our hospitals right here in Chatham-Kent.

Personally speaking, my only words of advice is to pick up the pace, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

-- Kimberley Walsh Chatham

Article ID# 2477880

Thursday March 4th.


Message from Sheldon Parsons



Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 9th at 7pm and we will hold it in the South Ball Room at the Oaks Inn.


We need to decide on by-law changes that we are requesting to be considered at the Annual Meeting and on an approach to take should we meet with more resistance from our elected Board Members.


You should also fill in the attached application form, attach a cheque for $10 and drop it off at Town Hall, Homeward Realty or NAPA Auto Parts. You can also drop it off at my place (91 Highbury Cres). If you need a blank form you can pick one up at Town Hall or, after hours, you can drop around to Cathy Patterson's residence at 67 Baxter. She has copies available on the inside of their front screen door. Open the door and take one.


Please plan to attend as this may be the start of the taking back ownership process.







Thanks to Jim and Anne for their comments in Contact Us on SOS website.






I've decided my hometown is where i'll reside once again after 5 years in the GTA(greater Toronto area). This is possible now as my career is in demand once again in this area(machining, mouldmaking). My fiancee had broken her tibia plateau (shin at knee area). With the er here in wallaceburg having given her some pain killer pills she cried that there was only a few pills and were gone quickly. To myself at the time it was very apparent that not enough was there for the amount of time till the next visit. I brought here to the er again and not only was the waiting room completely full but there were even some people standing. With much difficulty to crutch her in she cried in pain and not one person offered a chair for her, not even the staff of the hospital offered and there was 3 staff that were having to see her and myself as we ere even in the hallway because of not being room in the waiting room. basically all people could see us easilly from both waiting room and the staff windows. she had enough pain and suffering edured at the hands of this overcongested system so she asked that she just bring her home.
Before this situation she had given birth to our daughter in chatham. The chatham maternity staff kept labeling our dauther as a boy, in multiple forms and paperwork. This labour scene was rushed to be done in two days no more as the staff said`there was alot of prognancies happenning and overloading thier abilities.

Anyhow if I recall exact details of other nature and need to pull out my paperwork from such pls let me know as I am not feeling as though my heath care is good enough, not even close.

Jeff Morin


 Comments from Anne Stewart


In going over the info received last session, I am concerned.
Page 16, LHIN Integrated Health Services Plan 2 (IHSP2). Bullet 1 states IHSP2 will be implemented April 1/10, that's two months from now. Go to last bullet - 5 priorities to focus on:
Developing alternatives to Emergency Department Care for one. What exactly does this mean?
I sense we are being given a snow job. Add to this Jim Laforets capital capital planning explanation taking 5, 10, 15 years and I am afraid.
CKHA nor the LHIN have stopped the destruction nor have they indicated that anything taken away will be returned, restored or repaired.
Is it time to go on the offensive? Is it time to demand that the terms of the Alliance Agreement begin to be adhered to? Have we been too trusting?


Anne Stewart

Letter from Travis Hooper to Maria Van Bommel, M.P.P.

Feb. 20

Dear Maria Van Bommel,

My local hospital is already facing a considerable deficit. If a funding freeze is implemented for 2010 and 2011, critical community services could disappear.

The spending of $1 billion on eHealth with little to show for it, and another $1 million a day spent on private consultants, shows me that the Ontario government's priorities do not match my vision for optimal community healthcare. My rural hospital has already cut beds and services. If funding doesn't keep up with demand, equity of access will be further reduced for those of us who do not live in a major urban area.

My vote in the next election depends on how the political parties respond to this issue. Without our health care, we have nothing. Please give our hospitals the resources they need to get the job done.

I would like to know how you will advocate in provincial parliament to improve the resources of our community hospitals, and allow them to provide quality and timely health care services.

Please save our hospitals our lives depend on it. This is a democracy where the people have the say, and what they are saying is stop the bogus spending and put the money into proper health care, no more study's, no more e-health, no more trying to make it cheaper to do business. Health care is a right we all have, and this government needs to start giving back to the people that control their fate.


Travis Hooper



Feb. 20

Letter to the Editor from Shirley Roebuck


Sir: I read with dismay The Chatham Daily News article, "Chatham ER was full on Thursday," from Feb. 13. The article stated that the Chatham ER was full and that some patients were re-directed to Wallaceburg's Sydenham ER.

This process is called "time consideration," and only stable, non-life-threatening patients were re-directed. However, this resulted in six ambulances being re-directed to Wallaceburg. This was on top of an already heavy workload, as the Sydenham ER was extremely busy during that 24-hour period. It is always upsetting to realize how overworked health-care professionals are everywhere, but especially in Wallaceburg and Chatham. How fortunate these patients were that there was another alternative to the Chatham ER. They may not have been experiencing life-threatening problems, but they were ill enough to call an ambulance. They needed medical attention.

The acting chief of ER services, Dr. Sheri Roszell, commented on the physician shortage at the Chatham campus, and further states the Chatham Kent Health Alliance is working hard to maintain patient safety, with physician coverage, and adequate nursing resources.

This is obviously not a unique problem to the Sydenham ER, as was inferred by the last CEO of CKHA. This is a chronic problem, province-wide.

The article stated that there was an average of three "time considerations" per month at CKHA in the last year. That is 36 times in 2009 that ambulances had to be diverted to Wallaceburg. As a registered nurse who worked in the Sydenham ER before retiring, I know the time frames of these time considerations were often much longer than three hours.

What will the citizens of Chatham-Kent do if the Sydenham ER is changed to an urgent care centre? In an article from a Niagara area paper, officials with the Niagara Emergency Medical Services said that only a tiny fraction of patients are being taken to the new urgent care centres that replaced the two closed ERs there.

Paramedic service officials said that previous fears that the closures would extend the time ambulances are on the road transporting patients to and from emergency departments further away, and would exacerbate already existing delays in offloading patients at those ERs are proving to be accurate.

Longer patient waits in ERs, fewer available ambulances to serve the public, over-worked, over-stressed health-care personnel, including EMS. Will this ensure quality patient care in our area? The CKHA's three time considerations a month, means that 36 times a year the public will be put at risk.

Dalton McGuinty needs to know that this is not acceptable to the citizens of Chatham-Kent, and the entire catchment area of CKHA, which includes south Lambton. We expect and deserve better service. Let the doctors and nurses do their job. Tell Dalton McGuinty to properly fund health care.

-- Shirley Roebuck Registered Nurse Port Lambton



Feb. 19

                                                    Hospital hearings to gather input


The Observer

If Ontario won't solicit public input on the state of its hospitals, the Ontario Health Coalition says it will. The coalition is urging public participation at a series of 12 hearings that begin March 4 in Wallaceburg. On Monday, coalition members will be at Queen's Park to announce the hearings, said local representative Helen Havlik.  Havlik, a retired director of nursing at CEE Hospital in Petrolia and vice-chair of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition, says she's concerned the Ministry of Health will make decisions about rural and northern hospitals without hearing from the public. "Where is the democracy in that?" she asked. "We want to hear about individual experiences with the hospital system. We're worried about the future of rural ERs and the future of rural hospitals. Port Colborne and Fort Erie have already been closed," Havlik said. A hotline to collect information from the public was set up by the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition last October but only attracted three or four calls. The response was a disappointment to organizers who believe the emergency department at CEE Hospital may be in jeopardy, said Havlik. She believes a five-year agreement to keep Petrolia's ER open has led to complacency among local residents. "They think everything's OK. We're not sure that it's OK at all. Bluewater Health has a deficit and they'll have to make cuts somewhere."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health promised to form a panel to examine health care in rural and northern Ontario. Their report is expected later this year but will be written without discussions with the public. The point of the coalition's 12 hearings is to give the government public input before the report is written, Havlik said. The results of the 12 hearings will be delivered to the Minister of Health and Premier Dalton McGuinty in the legislature, she said. Anyone interested in providing a written submission to the Ontario Health Coalition should make their submission prior to the date of the hearing nearest them. Submissions can be sent to Those who want to make a five-minute presentation to the coalition during the hearing in Wallaceburg, need to register before Friday, Feb. 26 by calling the coalition at 416-441-2502.  The 12 hearings will be attended by seven panelists who will listen to the presentations and ask questions. Two of the panelists are from Sarnia-Lambton, including former MP Roger Gallaway and Dr. Tim Macdonald, the former chief of staff at CEE Hospital. The Wallaceburg hearing runs 3 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the Oaks Inn on McNaughton Avenue, Thursday, March 4. Subsequent hearings will take place at Shelburne, Kincardine, Welland, Cobourg, Port Perry, Haliburton, Burk's Falls, Winchester, Picton, St. Joseph Island and New Liskeard. For a full list of dates and times, visit


Feb. 17th

ER came through when needed: SOS


Save Our Sydenham's chairman believes last week's full emergency department in Chatham underlines the importance of Wallaceburg's facility.

On Thursday, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance redirected six patients to Sydenham Campus.

The situation is referred to as "time consideration" and only applies to patients who are stable and do not have a life-threatening condition.

SOS chairman Jeff Wesley said in an e-mail that the Wallaceburg ER benefits the health of all residents within the municipality.

"We have said from Day One that the people served by CKHA Chatham Campus need to be engaged and concerned about SDH, because if our ER goes, their health care will get worse," he said. "The overflow to SDH has happened on an ongoing basis over the years and is justification for keeping SDH."

Wesley had received an e-mail in January from Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network CEO Gary Switzer that "for the foreseeable future, there are no plans to close or study

the possible closure of any emergency department, including Sydenham campus.''

In a statement last week, CKHA said such time consideration events occur an average of three times per month.

Dr. Sheri Roszell, acting chief of the ER, said patient care is the priority and credited staff at both campuses for their hard work.

When the decision was made to go on time consideration, all beds in the Chatham ER were full with high-acuity patients and 25 patients were in the waiting room.

Ontario Health and Long-Term Care Minister Deb Matthews told The Chatham Daily News after a recent media conference that she needed more information about the latest situation.

"People should expect the very highest-quality health care available as close to home as possible," she said. "That's our goal."

Matthews said the province's Northern and Rural Health Care Panel is looking into issues across Ontario.

"They will be preparing a report that we'll expect to get in the next several weeks," she said. "Then we'll go to a second phase of much broader consultations."

In early 2009, one of the Hay Group's recommendations to the LHIN was that the Sydenham ER be closed and converted into an urgent-care centre.

However, the LHIN board deferred its decision until the panel completed its work.

During January's meeting, the LHIN announced it will require hospitals in Wallaceburg, Leamington and Petrolia to submit contingency plans for their emergency departments and partner with the organization in a clinical services review.

Article ID# 2454050


February 14, 2010

Editor, Chatham Daily News

 I read with dismay Chatham Daily News Article, "Chatham ER was full on Thursday", from February 13, 2010. The article stated that the Chatham ER was full and that some patients were re-directed to Wallaceburg’s Sydenham ER. This process is called "time consideration", and only stable, non-life threatening patients were re-directed. However, this resulted in 6 ambulances being re-directed to Wallaceburg. This was on top of an already heavy workload, as the Sydenham ER was extremely busy during that 24 hour period. It is always upsetting to realize how over-worked health care professionals are everywhere, but especially in Wallaceburg and Chatham.

How fortunate these patients were that there was another alternative to the Chatham ER! They may not have been experiencing life-threatening problems, but they were ill enough to call an ambulance. They they needed medical attention.

The acting Chief of ER services, Dr. Sheri Roszell commented on the physician shortage at the Chatham campus, and further states the Chatham Kent Health Alliance is working hard to maintain patient safety, with physician coverage, and adequate nursing resources. This is obviously not a unique problem to the Sydenham ER, as was inferred by the last CEO of CKHA. This is a chronic problem, province-wide.

The article stated that there was an average of 3 "time considerations" per month at CKHA in the last year. That is 36 times in 2009, that ambulances had to be diverted to Wallaceburg. As a Registered Nurse who worked in the Sydenham ER, before retiring, I know the time frames of these time considerations were often much longer than 3 hours.

What will the citizens of Chatham-Kent do, if the Sydenham ER is changed to an Urgent Care Centre? In an article from "Niagara This Week", February 4, 2010, The officials with the Niagara Emergency Medical Services said that only a tiny fraction of patients are being taken to the new urgent care centres that replaced the two closed ER’s.

Paramedic service officials said that previous fears that the closures would extend the time ambulances are on the road transporting patients to and from emergency departments further away, and would exacerbate already existing delays in offloading patients at those ER’s are proving to be accurate.

Longer patient waits in ER, fewer available ambulances to serve the public, over-worked, over-stressed health care personnel, including EMS. Will this ensure quality patient care in our area? The CKHA’s 3 time considerations a month, means that 36 times a year the public will be put at risk.

Dalton McGuinty needs to know that this is not acceptable to the citizens of Chatham Kent, and the entire catchment area of CKHA, which includes south Lambton. We expect and deserve better service. Let the doctors and nurses do their job. Tell Dalton McGuinty to properly fund health care.


Shirley Roebuck Registered Nurse

Port Lambton


Chatham ER was full on Thursday (Feb. 11)


With a full emergency department in Chatham, some patients were redirected to Wallaceburg on Thursday evening.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance notified dispatchers, emergency medical services and Sydenham Campus that the hospital was going on "time consideration."  This occurs when the staff and physicians see a demand for services beyond what can be provided to new patients in a timely manner. However, time consideration only applies to patients who are stable and do not have a life-threatening condition.

The situation is evaluated on an hourly basis. When the decision was made to go on time consideration, all beds in the Chatham ED were full with high-acuity patients and 25 patients were in the waiting room.   As a result, Sydenham Campus received six patients by ambulance.   The time consideration was ended after 1 a.m.

"Although our ED physicians are highly committed to responding to the pressures of the ED department, we are still challenged in obtaining second physician coverage on a routine and call-in basis. In fact, single coverage for this particular night shift was just secured a few days ago." said Dr. Sheri Roszell, acting chief of the ER, in a statement on Friday.

"It is the goal of either ED sites to not exceed a time consideration for more than three hours, however, safe patient care is our priority and the physician and nursing resources were working hard to respond to the patient care demands that presented at both campuses during this event."

CKHA has an average of three such instances in a given month, based on statistics from the past year.

"We would like to thank the patients for kindly working with us, and both Chatham and Sydenham ED staff and physicians for their ongoing commitment to working within a department that is unpredictable and highly stressful," Roszell said.

Article ID# 2448412


Letter to the Editor   


Sir:I would like to take this opportunity to comment on announcements made recently, by the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network. Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair LHIN, has stated that the LHIN's business regarding small community emergency rooms in the LHIN is concluded.. While the fate of the CKHA Sydenham emergency, the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart emergency and the Leamington emergency is considered by Premier McGuinty's Panel on Rural and Northern Health Care, the Erie St. Clair LHIN will now focus on primary care, while directing the hospitals to develop "contingency plans" for the small emergency rooms.

Primary care is obviously an essential element of today's health care. Primary care should involve doctors, nurses and other heath practitioners working together to promote health, offer education, provide treatment for everyday complaints and generally improve the patient's overall health. There should be specialized units dedicated to problems such as diabetes, heart disease, drug addictions, etc.

All of these things are as essential as an emergency department to the local community. Mr. Switzer has been vague about the true meaning of "contingency plans" for the ERs. If the contingency plans are, in fact, transitional plans to turn ERs into urgent care centers, they will simply be part of McGuinty's plan to centralize health care and shut rural hospitals. These plans are supposedly purposed to develop strategies for any "unforeseen problems" in the ER, for example, a physician shortage. The Sydenham ER faces an ongoing struggle to keep physicians, due in part to a CKHA's lack of support for physician recruitment for the Sydenham campus, and for a perceived lack of respect for these physicians who work in our small community hospital.

Health care in Ontario is in turmoil. The Liberal government demands balanced hospital budgets, and this is being accomplished on the backs of patients and health care workers. In late 2009, in Fort Erie, a tragedy happened; a young woman was involved in a car accident, and because the Fort Erie ER had been closed by the government, the ambulance took her to the larger Welland ER, but she died en route.

How many more tragedies are acceptable in the government's eyes? Premier McGuinty talked about his government becoming transparent, and responsible to the public. In October 2009, he noted that the public would judge him. I do not see any responsiveness to Ontario's shouts for more realistic health-care reform. The premier is correct: the public will judge him, come Election Day.

Chatham Kent Health Alliance now has a rare chance to turn the tide toward transparent and realistic change. There is an interim CEO in place, who knows the challenges facing health care today. There is now an opportunity to work with local health-care workers and physicians who know the local system.

Local businessmen have ideas. I hope our leaders will look to the hospitals of Eastern Ontario, including the Ottawa Hospital, CHEO, Cornwall Community Hospital and Queensway-Carlton Hospital who have openly warned about drastic decreases in hospital beds and services, if the

provincial government does not start providing proper funding.

Why not tell the government that the Sydenham campus is a vital part of the Chatham Kent Health Alliance? Instead of looking at Sydenham Campus as a liability, why not choose to see it as a valuable resource, which can support and help the entire catchment area of CKHA? There has to be more than manipulated data and budgetary mandates pushing health care reform.

Why not look to new ideas, which reflect the public's needs and wants?

Health care is an emotional issue for most people, and that emotion springs from people's love for family and friends and community. We all want and deserve to have appropriate health care in our communities, which rotates around a hospital with in-patient beds and a fully manned Emergency room. –
Shirley Roebuck, RN Chatham


      Lambton-Kent-Middlesex        PRESS RELEASE


For July 28, 2009

WALLACEBURG—Area MPPs Maria Van Bommel and Pat Hoy today announced the members of the Rural & Northern Health Care Panel that will recommend steps the Province can take to improve access to health care in rural and northern communities.

“Our government is committed to providing quality health care for all Ontarians regardless of where they live,” said Van Bommel, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.  “We recognize the unique challenges that rural and northern communities face, and are committed to examining these issues and providing a provincial framework to support them.”

“The panel’s members represent a broad range of stakeholders and health care professionals who will draw on their experiences working in rural and northern areas,” said Hoy, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex.  “We also want to identify rural Ontario's unique health care challenges, such as increased travel time required to access health care facilities; recruiting and retaining qualified health care professionals; and providing timely emergency services to remote locations.”

 “I am committed to improving access to quality health care for people who call rural and northern Ontario home. The diverse skill sets of Rural and Northern Health Care Panel members will prove to be invaluable as we take steps towards strengthening health care for the people in these communities,” said Health Minister David Caplan.

“Rural and northern communities are facing difficult and complex challenges. I look forward to working with the panel to develop a planning framework to deliver the best health care possible for rural and Northern communities. We have assembled a team with broad representation to take on this important task and I am confident that everyone will rise to the challenge,” said Hal Fjeldsted, Chair, Rural and Northern Health Care Panel.


Members of Ontario’s Rural & Northern Health Care Panel:

Hal Fjeldsted (Chair) – Kirkland Lake
Hal Fjeldsted has been the CEO of the Kirkland and District Hospital since 2000. Prior to this, Hal was the CEO of the Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital for 10 years. Hal also has extensive experience in working with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). In addition to being a member of the OHA Board since 2003, Hal’s current roles with the OHA include: Chair of the OHA Governance Committee, Chair of the Governance Best Practice Review Sub-Committee and a member of the OHA Strategic Planning Task Force and the Rural and Northern Access to Care Working Group. From 2005 to 2008 Hal was the Chair of OHA Region 1 representing Northern Hospitals.

Brian Bildfell - Essex-Windsor
Brian Bildfell is Chief of Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Previously, Brian spent 25 years with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 15 of which he spent in the Emergency Health Services Division and the last 10  in the Long-Term Care Division.

Jocelyn Blais – Hearst, Northeast Ontario
Jocelyn Blais is the project manager for Recruitment of Health Service Professionals, a committee in the Town of Hearst that includes the municipality and the local hospital. Mr. Blais also organized the last Francophone Health Summit in Timmins on behalf of the two Northern French Language Health Services Network.

Lynn Brown – Fort Erie
Lynn Brown is a Nurse Practitioner in the Town of Fort Erie and brings 31 years of nursing experience to her practice. She has educational and work experience in a broad range of fields including: mental health and psychology, long-term care, gerontology and psychogeriatrics with a specialization in dementia. Lynn was also the panelDirector of Nursing for the Region of Niagara for five years, starting in 1994. In addition to being a member of faculty at McMaster University, she also worked in the Niagara Regional Public Health department as a manager in the school program, and as a Nurse Practitioner in the Sexual Health Program.

Mike Brown - Algoma-Manitoulin
Mike Brown, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, a member of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies and a member of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and Regulations. MPP Brown has served as the Speaker of the 38th Parliament, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources, and Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Education. Prior to entering provincial politics, Mike was the deputy mayor of Gore Bay and President of the Manitoulin Municipal Association.

Margret Comack – North Perth
Margret Comack has been the CEO at the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance for 10 years, in addition to being the current Chair of the North Perth Family Health Team and Vice Chair of the North Huron Family Health Team. Ms. Comack was also a member of the Ontario Hospital Association Board for five years (2000 – 2005). She was also the Acting Executive Director of the North Perth Family Health Team from November 2008 to April 2009.

Sheri Doxtator – Oneida Nation of the Thames
Sheri Doxtator has worked alongside some well-known First Nations leaders, leaders in science and within the health research field, including the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre, Bank of Montreal, Southern First Nations Secretariat, London Health Sciences Centre, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. Ms. Doxtator is a citizen of the Iroquois Confederacy born into the Oneida Nation of the Thames and A’nó:wal (Turtle) clan. She also sits on the elected council for Oneida. Most recently, Ms. Doxtator accepted the position of the Aboriginal Health Access Centre Project Manager for the Association of Ontario Health Centres.

Kathy Faries - James Bay/Weeneebayko   
Kathy Faries has been a nurse for 25 years, and spent the past five years working as a Nurse Practitioner in Moose Factory and also for the North Shore Tribal Council in Northern Ontario. Ms. Faries obtained her BNSc in 1984 and her NP certificate in 1993 from Queen's University. She was born and raised in Moose Factory and is both a member and councillor of the Moose Cree First Nation.

Kelly Isfan - Campbellford
Kelly Isfan is currently the President and CEO of Campbellford Memorial Hospital. Prior to moving to Campbellford, she was the CEO at the Atikokan General Hospital, and has led other health care organizations in the long-term care and community care sectors in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. In her current position Ms. Isfan serves on a number of provincial committees such as the Ontario Hospital Association’s Small Rural and Northern Provincial Leadership Council and the Joint Policy & Planning Committee’s Accountability Committee. She is now a board member of the Trent Hills Family Health Team.

Carol Mitchell – Huron-Bruce
Carol Mitchell, MPP for Huron-Bruce, is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Chair of the Liberal Caucus. MPP Mitchell also sits on the newly formed Cabinet Committee for Poverty Reduction, the Standing Committee on General Government and is a member of the Liberal Rural Caucus.

Dr. Terry O'Driscoll – Sioux Lookout
Dr. Terry O'Driscoll came to Sioux Lookout in 1982 and practices as a full spectrum family physician and clinical preceptor for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. O'Driscoll has provided leadership on numerous boards and committees, including chief of staff at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, co-chair of the Ontario Maternity Care Expert Panel and past president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

Raymond Pong – Sudbury/Northeast Ontario
Raymond Pong is the Research Director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research and a Professor at the School of Rural and Northern Health and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University. Pong also teaches in the graduate program of the School of Nursing and is a Principal of the Ontario Training Centre in Health Services and Policy Research. He also has many years of experience in public service (in Alberta and Ontario).

Doug Reycraft - Municipality of Southwest Middlesex
Former Member of Provincial Parliament Doug Reycraft was first elected to the Ontario legislature in  1985.  He was next elected mayor of Southwest Middlesex in 2000. Reycraft has also served as Chair on the London-Middlesex Board of Health.

Gerry Rowlands - Tillsonburg
Gerry Rowlands is currently an emergency room physician at Tillsonburg District Hospital and has been practicing since 1979. Rowlands has a full rural practice, which includes house calls, emergency room coverage, in-hospital coverage, minor surgery and obstetrics. Rowlands was president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) from 1996 to 1997 and president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) from 2005 to 2006.

Donna Williams – Balmerton/Northwest Ontario
Donna Williams has been part of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine (KOTM) team since 2001. Ms. Williams works as a Telemedicine Program Manager and is a registered nurse. 

Media Contact:  Pat Hoy, MPP, 519-351-0510
                        Maria Van Bommel, MPP, 519-245-8696