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Financial support for hospital must be ‘business as usual’


Larry Matheson

The president of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation said that when it comes to raising funds for the Prince Edward County hospital, County residents should have confidence that it is “business as usual”, despite ongoing rumours about proposed cuts in services as Quinte Healthcare Corporation tries to overcome a shortfall of about $10 million.”

“Our job is to support the medical staff at the hospital by raising donations to pay for the medical equipment and facilities needed to provide a range of health care services to County residents,” says Larry Matheson. “We cannot lose sight of this as our mission and our ongoing priority.”

The foundation comprises volunteer directors from the community who work to raise funds through donations from individuals, corporations and service organizations to buy medical equipment for the hospital.

The government does not fund medical equipment.

“Most people don’t know that all of the hospital medical equipment is provided solely through community donations,” said Matheson. “The Ontario government does not put a penny toward any of it. That’s true across the province. It’s the mandate of hospital foundations like ours to fundraise to equip local hospitals.  Some people will find that shocking. I did when I first heard it, but it is true.”

Maintaining a well equipped hospital argues in favour of keeping the hospital in the community, he says.

“The fact that we have had a robust hospital here since 1919 and that it is continually updated with the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment made possible through donations from the community is a major factor supporting the preservation of our hospital. This hospital is a part of the fabric of our community,” he said.

He adds that having a well-equipped hospital is one of the major reasons why the County has doctors practicing here.

“Because PECMH offers an array of medical services, it is a teaching hospital for medical students attending Queen’s University and that has been a huge contributing factor in attracting and keeping doctors in the County.”

He points out that the foundation is the voice and champion of exceptional health care services in Prince Edward County and that the foundation is “taking a stance with others in the community for preserving our hospital.”

Matheson says the work of the foundation is critical to retaining the hospital.  He says that in the last decade, the foundation has raised more than $5 million in PEC to purchase equipment such as the new digital mammography and ultrasound equipment for the diagnostic imaging department, vital signs monitors, defibrillators, an electrocardiography (ECG) machine and much more.

“In 2009, we celebrated the grand opening of our newly renovated emergency department which was made possible through a contribution of $1.1 million from the foundation, money that was raised through donations from people in the County. In 2002, the Foundation raised $500,000 in community donations toward the establishment of the MacSteven Dialysis Clinic. This year the hospital has asked the foundation to raise $400,000 to purchase equipment that will aid in the treatment of our patients at PECMH.”

Matheson says the foundation is grateful for the generosity of the community.

“Every donation, no matter how much, makes a difference in the care that you and your family value and deserve.  We very much appreciate all support. We are especially grateful for estate donations. They go a long way in helping us acquire a specific piece of equipment. It’s really important to our long-term plans to know that people are thinking of the hospital with a gift in their will,” he says.

Matheson acknowledges that some people have expressed concern that donations made to the foundation are leaving the County.

“The foundation consists of community volunteers who are as committed as I am to keeping this hospital in Picton and functioning properly. We have a very strict practice concerning the distribution of funds. First and foremost, we satisfy the equipment needs at our hospital.  Our mandate does allow us to provide funds to Belleville General or Trenton Memorial for the purchase of medical equipment for a service not offered in Picton, but benefits  County residents.  To date, our foundation has provided a total of $221,000 which assisted with the purchase of the MRI machine,” he says.

Matheson says the Foundation will keep pushing to ensure the hospital medical staff have the medical equipment they need to do their job. “We won’t waiver in our mission and we hope the residents of the County will continue their generous support of our fund raising activities,” he says.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Marnie says:

    Does being a good citizen mean donating towards the purchase of hospital equipment that will ultimately be used for other good citizens in outlying communities? “Our” hospital is not likely to remain ours for much longer. Don’t forget that the government has planned a brand new first-aid station for us.

  2. Wolf Braun says:

    To ensure the health and well-being of the residents of Prince Edward County it’s up to “people of the County” to work hard for keeping their hospital and making it even better.

    ” We the people” must retain responsibility for keeping our hospital in our community. We must be good citizens.

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    Something that needs to be considered is how healthcare has evolved over the past half century since the Canada Health Act was passed.

    Back in the 60s, healthcare was focused on acute care hospitals, surgeons and physicians.

    Now people are much more likely to survive medical conditions than to die, so chronic care is much more important. Also, new drugs now play an important role. The Canada Health Act doesn’t cover chronic care facilities or drugs.

    Recently I read that, at one time, Picton hospital had 95 beds! They would have been mostly for acute care patients. Now we’ll have 12 beds. Is that enough for local acute care? I don’t know.

    We also need to think about the need for chronic care beds, especially since our local population is older than in most other communities.

    And there needs to be more attention to the need for pharmacare, which will ensure that people have access to the drugs that now substitute for other treatment modalities.

  4. Marnie says:

    I agree Jan. With the way things are going I do not think it likely that our donations will fund equipment guaranteed to stay in our hospital – especially endoscopy equipment. The writing is on the wall. Our hospital is being phased out and will become just a first-aid station. There will be no need for a lot of equipment.

  5. Jan says:

    I think people of the County need a guarantee that funds donated to the foundation will be in fact used for Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital for years to come. This does not seem possible at the present time! What a predicament!!

  6. Marnie says:

    My cousin in Fort Erie was a long-time hospital volunteer. She told me that she and her fellow volunteers watched a few years ago as the equipment they had raised money to buy for their hospital was stripped out and sent elsewhere. Why should we believe that it will be any different here?

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