Meaford’s mayor remains skeptical about assurances from the CAO for Grey-Bruce Health Services about the fate of the Meaford hospital.
Barbara Clumpus says she wants to see more financial information than Lance Thurston gave Meaford residents at a public meeting.
On Monday, Thurston told a crowd of about 200 residents at Meaford United Church that a proposal to move all elective surgeries to the hospital in Owen Sound doesn’t mean their hospital will have to close.
Meaford council first heard about the proposal from Thurston in November 2016.
Thurston said GBHS is facing the possibility of a $17 million annual deficit by 2019-2020 unless it makes major changes to its cost structure. The possible shortfall is the result of a change in Ontario’s funding formula for hospitals. This could mean eliminating surgical and other services at rural hospitals like those in Meaford, Markdale and Southampton.
Thurston tried to reassure residents at the meeting that moving surgical services from Meaford and other hospitals to Owen Sound doesn’t necessarily mean these hospitals will have to close. Thurston said he and the board of GBHS don’t want to approve any deeper service cuts than those proposed to balance the Service’s budget.
He added the GBHS board has also asked Queens Park to review its funding formula and make changes that would help rural hospitals balance their budgets.
Clumpus said Meaford council has already asked to see the GBHS proposal for transferring all surgery to the hospital in Owen Sound.
“We proposed the hospitals in Meaford and Southampton keep some surgical services," said Clumpus. "This would still save GBHS almost half a million dollars.”