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Admire people who speak up for the hospital

In 2003, Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital supporter Eleanor Lindsay MacDonald and I were in attendance at a QHC board meeting where the discussion centred around cuts to services at PECMH and Trenton Memorial Hospital. We both knew that this was the beginning of the decimation of both hospitals. At that point we also knew that it was important to write a letter to the local media  to at least let the stakeholders know that the QHC board and senior administration were considering making cuts.

We now know that this was a plan that took approximately 10 years, with the help of the Liberal government and the LHIN to turn both hospitals into Band-Aid stations and centralize services at Belleville General Hospital. I remember very clearly my friend Eleanor saying to me: “If you think something is wrong you must speak up about it and not be afraid to do so.”  I always felt  that was very sound advice.

I think that she would  be pleased (as was I)  with the presentation that PECMH Foundation Past  President Larry Matheson made to the QHC board and senior administration  at the AGM on June 25th. He started out very slowly and by the end of his deputation he had hit a home run  in making it very clear that as a result of QHC cutting so many services, donations to the PECMH Foundation were down 50 per cent. That is correct: 50 per cent  Part of his message was “Amalgamation has not been kind to our hospital. Under amalgamation we’ve seen our services greatly diminished.”

The other person that delivered an impassioned deputation to the board that evening was POOCH member Al  Reimers. I was one of the 10 County residents that was present that evening and I applaud both Mr. Matheson and Rev. Reimers for having the courage to speak up about our hospital and not be afraid to do so.

The interesting fact was that the headlines in the local media the next day were not that QHC had ended the year with $165,000 in the black or that QHC Chair Brian Smith had ended his three-year term as chair but  that Larry Matheson and Al Reimers had given impassioned and convincing speeches about our beloved hospital. Click here to access these deputations.

Someone else who has my admiration for speaking up for his hospital is Mark Larratt Smith. Apart from sitting on  a few County health care boards, Mark managed the implementation of the Family Health Team. He wrote an open letter to the commumity titled “Challenges for Healthcare in the County” where he made suggestions for a viable solution to healthcare in the County. The solution did not include QHC or the LHIN. Mark says that his letter was provoked by the fact that two young County  physcians ( Dr. Darren Lett and Dr.Lisa Forrester) are moving to Kingston in a few months. This of course is a direct result of the severe cuts that QHC have made at local  hospitals . Click here for Mark’s letter . These are well worth reading if you care about your hospital and health care in the County. Also hopefully, many of you will attend the health care meeting sponsored by POOCH at the Picton United Church Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.

I have told you about three individuals that have stepped up to the plate and have had the courage to challenge QHC. There are many groups and organizations out there that I hope also have the courage to do the same and speak out  about the decimation of their hospital. Some of these would include the municipality, the Chamber of Commerce, the BIA, the Real Estate Association, PECMH Auxiliary and many other groups. If you choose not to, your local hospital will mirror Bancroft and Pr. Ed. County will suffer economically. While we are on the subject of courage,  I think that if the new QHC Board Chair Steve Blakely (who grew up in the County and now resides here) and the other five board members who reside in Pr. Ed. County would come out to the meeting on July 10 that would  certainly be the beginning of constructive dialogue.  Here is an excellent opportunity for these board members to engage some of the stakeholders that they represent and listen to ideas from their fellow County residents. I think  Mr. Blakely you will find that your senior administration has failed somewhat in this department. The choice is yours.

Fran Renoy, Picton

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