(BlackburnNews.com photo)(BlackburnNews.com photo)

Southampton And Markdale Hospitals Losing Elective Day Surgery

Meaford residents who depend on their hospital for elective surgery will be happy to hear they won’t have to drive to Owen Sound for the service.

At a meeting on Wednesday, members of Grey Bruce Health Services board approved five recommendations from staff about the health service’s surgery programs.

One of the recommendations called for GBHS to keep the operating room at Meaford hospital open and integrate it fully into the health service’s surgical program.

GBHS staff pointed out this action would ensure consistent corporate oversight and management.

The possible closure of the Meaford hospital operating room and transferring surgery to the hospital in Owen Sound has caused great concern for hospital staff and patients alike over the past six months.

Residents of the Markdale and Southampton are not as fortunate.  The GBHS board has also approved the recommendation to cease elective day surgery at hospitals in their municipalities. Surgery services at these hospitals will be moved to the hospital in Owen Sound during the next 12 months.

Planning for the move will begin almost immediately.  GBHS will go ahead with upgrading infrastructure and equipment in the medical device reprocessing and surgery departments at the hospital in Owen Sound.

The board of directors endorsed the following actions: - Maintain the operating room at Meaford hospital and integrate it fully into the GBHS surgical program, ensuring consistent corporate oversight and management. - Discontinue elective day surgery at Southampton Hospital and Markdale Hospital over the course of the next 12 months. - Upgrade infrastructure and equipment in the medical device reprocessing department and the surgery department at Owen Sound Regional Hospital. - Engage internal and external stakeholders in the development of a sustainability plan for GBHS, which will include, among other things, defining the roles of each hospital and strategies to strengthen the resilience of each, and leveraging opportunities to enhance the strength of the five foundations supporting the six hospitals. - Continue to identify and implement internal efficiency/cost savings initiatives that maintain quality of patient care with minimal staffing disruption. - Continue to advocate, in conjunction with stakeholders and community partners, for sustainable changes to the Provincial funding model that reflect the rural realities of Grey Bruce and the unique challenges of the GBHS operating model.

“All six of our hospitals are critical to the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors, and contribute to the economic vitality of the communities they serve,” says Lance Thurston, president and CEO of GBHS. “With this suite of initiatives now moving forward, we can focus on building the resiliency of our health care system across Grey-Bruce.”

Board members reviewed feedback from hundreds of individuals and organizations, including staff, physicians, members of the public, municipalities, and Indigenous leaders before making their decisions on which hospitals would continue offering elective day surgery.

Of the total number of elective day surgeries done at GBHS, 4% are done in Markdale, 5% are in Meaford, 88% take place in Owen Sound, and 2.5% happen in Southampton.

The government-approved plan for the new Markdale hospital does not include surgery.

Meaford Hospital (photo by James Armstrong) Meaford Hospital (photo by James Armstrong)

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