All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024

Standing room only to hear hospital’s good, bad and uncertain

ToddSmithspeaksA standing-room only crowd filled the Picton Legion hall Thursday night to hear news about the plight of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith shared the good news that the hospital will receive “Small and Rural Hospital Funding” by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care after being denied twice. The amount is not yet known.

“To receive the cash, a small hospital has to be 30 minutes or further from a large hospital,” said Smith. “The ministry informed me the measurements had not been done correctly.”

The bad news is that Quinte Healthcare continues its quest to fix a $12 million shortfall and though about $7 million in savings has been found as of the QHC’s January board meeting, $5 million more is needed and restructuring and cuts will remain unknown until a draft financial plan is made in March.

While uncertainty looms, citizens showed measured support for a 12-year project to build a $50 million new hospital. The pre-capital request from QHC was approved by the South East LHIN in December.

“If we trust that there will be a hospital here in 12 years, what will our hospital look like until then and what will that new hospital be specifically?” asked an audience member.

Paul Huras“Twelve beds is what we’re talking about now, and a whole list including emergency services,” answered Paul Huras, SELHIN CEO. “The pre-capital submission keeps getting refined and will constantly be refined.”

He noted services like dialysis must be delivered by hospitals that have the specialists and expertise needed. “That is why (Picton’s) is connected with Kingston and there is no reason why it couldn’t grow.”

Another in the audience asked “if there’s anything we can do if we feel we might not like the result” of QHC’s cuts and restructuring.

“Write letters,” said Leo Finnegan, chairman of the PECMH Foundation. “Write letters to our MPP and to the people on the hospital board. Tell them how you feel.”

Leo Finnegan

Leo Finnegan

Finnegan gave a presentation at the January meeting of QHC to express concerns about reduced beds and difficulty encouraging young doctors to replace retiring doctors.

“I told them we’re in the fight of our life and Mary Clare (Egberts, QHC CEO) did not like that but we sat down and we had a good discussion. Write the people on the board. Four or five of them live right here in Prince Edward County.”

Support for the hospital by its doctors and medical community is one of the reasons Prince Edward County is a model for rural health care, said MPP Smith.

“There’s a tremendous buy-in from the medical professionals in Prince Edward County when it comes to Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital that they need to staff that hospital because it is the lifeblood of the community,” said Smith, adding that with that, “you’re going to put yourself in a better position when it comes to impending cuts and cutbacks in services down the line.”

He noted the County’s appearances in several provincial marketing campaigns – specifically television commercials and said the province understands the County’s role as a retirement and tourism destination.

“Just one of the reasons why this community has such a tremendous hospital. If we don’t have it, we won’t be a destination for all those people… 600,000 visitors to Sandbanks Provincial Park; 240,000 overnight visits throughout the year and 4,000 seasonal residents… a unique kind of community, not just 25,000 residents.”

Smith noted the continued and long-standing support of the hospital by County residents and the recent work of Leo Finnegan, and of the evening’s hosts, POOCH (Patrons of Our Community Hospital).

Finnegan also thanked the community for its support.

“The province doesn’t purchase medical equipment, that’s the job of the Foundation and we are thankful for donations from those who share the belief that community participation makes for a stronger health care system and we thank the many individuals, groups and organizations who support us – especially the hospital auxiliary.”

Looking forward to the building of a new building, Finnegan said the 56-year-old hospital has reached its point of useful life.

“Consultants have concluded the electrical system is full extended; the plumbing system needs replacement and most importantly, the present rooms are not adequate to meet today’s standards.”

In the meantime, POOCH continues to promote the work of the County’s hospital, community and Family Health Team. Last month that included a presentation a pre-budget hearing in Kingston to an all-party committee of the provincial legislature. Preparation for a second presentation in Kingston is under way for an all-party committee reviewing LHINs throughout Ontario.

In a closing statement, an audience member stated to the LHIN’s Paul Huras that she knows “Outside the borders of Prince Edward County we are considered difficult. We’re not difficult. We are caring, loving people who care for one another. We’re very willing to work to the best of our ability. When we look at the services we’ve lost, what we feel is scared and picked on.”

“I understand that,” Huras replied. “A hospital especially in a small community is more than a hospital, is more than a community health centre, more than a community centre. It’s the icon of the community and I fully understand that. What we are learning from other jurisdictions is that there are places like in the UK where they closed down a lot of small hospitals and they are regretting that and are starting to change that behaviour. I don’t think you’re difficult. I understand your passion.”

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  1. Marnie says:

    That’s not fair Anonymous. Our family has used the Picton Hospital on numerous occasions and staff always went above and beyond. We did not encounter a single rude or disrespectful person. We are not “buddies” with anyone on staff either.

  2. Gary says:

    I don’t think it was a miscalculation as opposed to the demand is simply unaffordable. If we want better health care it is simple, we need to pay more.

  3. Wolf Braun says:

    “Ten Heathcare Myths” in Canada’s healthcare system … .

    … very interesting read. I would suggest there might even be a few more myths. For instance, all my life I’ve heard about being a member of the “Baby Boomer” generation. The largest birth growth group in history, post the second world war.

    Our governments, expert bureaucrats, academics, etc. have known that by the 21st century we boomers would be retired and possibly in need of good affordable health care. Yet here we are in a world wide healthcare crisis where hospitals are being downsized or closed. How could these people miscalculate our needs so badly. Are we asking the right questions of our elected officials?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think if the hospital gets money it should go to the people that work there on teaching them how to respected patients as they are very rude and don’t have respect and it takes 3 hours to be seen when there is no buddy there and no emergency vehicles coming in maybe we should spend money on teaching them new skills or if they don’t want to do it maybe they should go find a new job that dose not deal with the public

  5. Argyle says:

    Lets just hope that the funding PECMH recieves from the small hospital designation is actually invested and used at this site, not gobbled up by Qhc to pay down their deficit or fund programs at Bgh.

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