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Love is in the ‘AER’

Pictured at their kiosk along the Millennium Trail in Wellington are Rotary Club of Wellington members announcing their $60,000 pledge for the AER to Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation (front row at left) and Barbara McConnell, board chairperson of the PECMH Foundation (front row, second from left).

A local service club showed its love for the County hospital this Valentine’s Day by pledging to fund an essential piece of equipment.

It’s another act of love for the hospital from the Rotary Club of Wellington as members enter into a second pledge commitment with the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF) to fund up to $60,000 for the purchase of an Automated Endoscope Reprocessor (AER) needed at Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (QHC PECMH).

This pledge is in addition to $400,000 the Rotary Club of Wellington committed to for the Back the Build campaign under way to build the new hospital.

The Rotary Club of Wellington, with about 40 members, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2022.

An AER is essential to the delivery of endoscopy services at Picton’s hospital. The equipment disinfects each gastroscope and colonoscope between patients. The new AER will replace the current machine, which is outdated.

The new AER will allow quicker turn-around time to efficiently process scopes as the updated technology reduces the cycle time by about 25 minutes. This machine operates using two fully independent reprocessing bins so two scopes can be cleaned at the same time. It uses environmentally-friendly high level disinfectant to process the scopes, making it safe for staff.

“Our caregivers have access to leading edge equipment because our donors are investing in our hospital,” said Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation. “We are extremely grateful to the Rotary Club of Wellington for stepping forward with this second pledge in support of the exceptional care.”

The foundation plays a critical role in raising funds for essential, specialized equipment which is not funded by the government.

PECMH is the low-risk endoscopy centre for Quinte Health Care. On average, more than 3,500 people travel to Picton from across Southeastern Ontario each year for cancer screening and scope procedures.

The Rotary Club of Wellington intends to raise the funds needed for the AER over a two-year period. Included is use of donations from their bottle recycling depot which is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the old mill on Second Street in Wellington. In addition, the club is once again partnering with Nyman Farms to sell maple syrup this year. One hundred percent of the proceeds of syrup sold by Wellington Rotarians will support the AER.

“I speak on behalf of all Wellington Rotary members in saying that the community rallies behind our County hospital. Displaying our fundraising thermometer for the new hospital campaign at the bottle return depot prompted many donations and positive comments from our patrons,” said Trudy Brown, president of the Rotary Club of Wellington. “Since we have achieved our fundraising target for the new hospital, it only made sense to see if there was something else we could do. A newspaper article from PECMHF in December identified different equipment needs, one of them being an AER. Having endoscopy services in the County hospital is important to many of us, which made the club’s decision very easy.”

Medical equipment is expensive and has a short lifespan. Unlike many operating costs, equipment is not funded by the government; it is expected the community finances the replacement of medical equipment and building redevelopment through the work of hospital foundations. This is why support from donors is so important.

“PECMH Foundation raises funds so our hospital can acquire the advanced technology and even basic equipment that is not covered by provincial health care funding. Having the right technology improves diagnosis and length of treatments giving our professionals the tools they need saves lives,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “Without community fundraising, our hospital would not have the financial means to purchase essential equipment, like the AER, and make necessary upgrades to our infrastructure. We are grateful to the Rotary Club of Wellington for their philanthropic leadership, supporting our ongoing priority equipment needs and investing in our new hospital.”

“Since its inception, the foundation has supported programs and services integral to the advancement of health care and the wellbeing of the citizens of Prince Edward County and the surrounding communities by raising, managing and distributing funds to Quinte Health Care. The foundation’s goal is to continue raising the necessary funds to acquire the technology and equipment not funded by the province,” said McConnell.

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