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Vision would make new Picton hospital a provincial model

Quinte Healthcare president and CEO Mary Clare Egberts mades a silent auction bid at Fashion for a Cause, a fundraiser for the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation.

By Sue Capon
A vision to make Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital a provincial model for rural healthcare was shared by Quinte Healthcare’s president and CEO Thursday night at a fundraiser for the PECM Foundation.
Mary Clare Egberts told the few hundred guests attending ‘Fashion for a Cause’ about a private meeting with Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews where they discussed an innovative, integrated health system at Picton. Matthews was in Belleville and Quinte West Thursday to officially kick off the latest expansion at BGH and to open the Community Health Centre site at Trenton.
“We took the chance to bend the minister’s ear on an absolutely wonderful vision that we have for Prince Edward County Memorial,” Egberts said. “Even though we know it will be years before shovels will be in the ground to build a new hospital, we are very excited about the prospects. I will tell you she was extremely positive about the vision and is going to help us support that. ”
Dr. Greg Higgins, president of the Prince Edward County Family Health Team, and Duff Sprague, its executive director also attended the private meeting.
“It’s about working with the Family Health Team to ensure you get all the care you need and what we’re talking about is integration of care in one facility where you come for your health care needs,” Egberts explained. “Depending on what you’re presenting with, you might go down the hall to emergency; you might go down the hall and see a family physician or you might actually go somewhere and see a social worker to help you with your diet for diabetes. And when you leave you might not even know where you’ve been. Have you been at the hospital? Have you been at the Community Care centre or with your Family Health Team?
“Our vision of this integrated health care will also look at more wellness activities for our aging population. We have to make sure we’re going to be managing all these needs for down the road.  “We actually think it can be a real great thing for health care in Ontario, but more importantly, a very important thing for all of the communities surrounding Picton, including Wellington.

Egbets thanked Lori Foster, of The Dressing Room, and the more than 200 guests for attending Fashion for a Cause saying “It is only because of events like this, and your donations to PECM, that we are able to buy equipment.
“Since moving to the region a year ago I am absolutely amazed, actually, inspired, about the passion that everyone has for their local hospital. It’s absolutely wonderful to see and I want you to know that I’m equally passionate about Prince Edward County Memorial.”

QHC wants community input

QHC is looking for input to help determine its new five-year strategic plan.
“By looking to our communities, staff and physicians to help us answer a number of questions, we will ensure that our limited resources will be focused in the right direction, according to the patients and families we serve and the people delivering the care,” said Mary Clare Egberts, QHC President and CEO, in a press release.

The QHC Board is focusing on five questions to be answered:
1. How can QHC continue to improve the quality of care it delivers?
2. How can QHC secure a vibrant future for all four QHC hospital sites?
3. How can there be better coordination of patient care between the hospital and other health care providers in the community?
4. What should QHC’s role be within the regional network of health care providers?
5. What would ensure QHC is an exceptional place to work?

“Now is the ideal time to chart a new course for Quinte Health Care,” said Steve Blakely, Vice-Chair of the QHC Board and Chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. “We have a new Board, new CEO, balanced budget and a new Quality Improvement Plan that places even greater emphasis on the delivery of high quality, safe patient care.” There are also significant challenges on the horizon for all hospitals, such as financial pressures, shortages of health care professionals, an aging population and increasingly complex patient needs.

“We now need to determine how QHC can better serve the needs of our local communities, in addition to the more specialized health care needs of patients from right across the region,” said Mr. Blakely.

There are four ways to join the conversation about the future of QHC:
1. Go to the QHC web site at to read more, join an online discussion forum, complete a survey and provide your input.
2. Attend a community open house in May (dates and locations to be announced).
3. Call Susan Rowe at (613) 969-7400, ext. 2331 or send an e-mail to to request a paper copy of the survey.

“Whether you are a patient, staff member, physician, health care partner, volunteer or community member, QHC is your hospital. Help us shape its future and make QHC an exceptional place to receive care and an exceptional place to work,” said Egberts.

Quinte Health Care has 1600 staff members and 280 medical staff with privileges who provide a wide spectrum of specialized health care to residents living in Prince Edward and Hastings counties and a portion of Northumberland County.
Care is provided across four hospital sites (QHC Belleville General, QHC North Hastings, QHC Prince Edward County Memorial and QHC Trenton Memorial) and includes 260 inpatient beds, four emergency departments, operating rooms at three sites, a rehabilitation day hospital, a children’s treatment centre, diabetes education, ambulatory care clinics and community mental health programs.

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  1. Maggie Haylock says:

    Don’t knock the seventies, Executive Lead Blogger. Perhaps you didn’t live them. There was a lot to be said for that decade. Today, we enjoy many scientific advances, but there is a down side to the new way of doing things.

    Today, the county patient who once would have been cared for in the Picton hospital, may be transported to a bed in Trenton, Belleville or Kingston hospital for treatment. Very convenient (and expensive) for his or her family. We had a fully functional hospital that served community needs well. Now, it seems more like a first aid station. It’s sad to see so many offices on the second floor, where there were once patient beds. The bustling corridors of the ’70’s now seem eerily quiet. Sadder still to think that as we age and have greater need for our hospital’s services, we may be shipped off to neighbouring centres for treatment and forced to travel for services once available locally. Who can blame Doris for wanting to turn back the clock? We may have advanced by leaps and bounds in terms of the sophisticated tests and surgical procedures now available, but what has happened at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is not progress.

  2. Loretta Salet says:

    Dear Executive Lead Blogger: The obvious point that Ms Lane made was about the Functionality of the Hospital, not the type of equipment, which by the way we don’t have here, even though it is now standard most hospitals. That’s becuase the current amalgamation of PECMH with Belleville, Bancroft and Trenton Hospitals – Quinte Health Care – has eroded our ability to function fully as a hospital and it continues to remove needed resources. Only a few years ago we had our own diabetic clinic and lab to do blood analysis. Now if the Dr needs any blood work done, it is sent to Belleville by taxi to be analyzed to eneter the queue at BGH. That adds at least 45-60 minutes to any diagnosis. We also used to have our own radioligst to read Xrays. Patients who arrived at PECMH could be treated and be admitted unless it was something major and then they would be transferred to BGH or KGH (Kingston) as necessary. We even built a Helicopter pad so patients could be flown to any hospital for specialized treatment – like the Burn centre etc, and we did this as a community without “help” from QHC and still managed to stay in the BLACK finacially. Those are the days that Ms Lane was referring to.

    Just curious – why are you afraid to use your real name?

  3. Doris Lane says:

    Executive Lead Blogger whoever you are
    I am just saying that we had a hospital with more than 28 beds
    The other things we have eg CAT scan etc are just because of advances in medicine
    I just want a hospital that had beds in it for our community
    You probably never saw the hospital we had in the 70’s–it was a great place and run by Prince Edward county not the provincial government

  4. Executive Lead Blogger says:

    Ah yes, the 70s. Let’s definitely go back to those halcyion days:

    * No CT or MRI scans…heck a computer was the size of a three bedroom house!

    * There was no such thing as day surgery or minimally invasive surgery …simple abdominal procedures required patients to be cut from stem to stern and in-patient stays were up to two weeks

    * Cancer was primarily an immediate death sentence: radiation therapy was from a “Cobalt bomb” machine and there were only two or three cancer drugs in use

    * Laboratory testing in small hospitals was limited and pathological analysis and all testing results were open to significant interpretive variation.

    But yes, let’s go back to the 70s because we had a kitchen with our own laundry and kitchen.

    Might was well go back to the 1770s and whip out the leeches to rid your body of evil spirits!

  5. Doris Lane says:

    My dream for PEC memorial hospital is to have it the way it was in the 70’s. Both wings of the hospital had patient beds which were always occupied. We had a lab which was second to none. An excellent x ray department with our own radiologist . our own laudry, our own kitchen etc etc and no deficit.
    No I guess we have around 28 beds.
    I do not want a first aid post, I want a fully functioning hopsital to serve the needs of Prince Edward County.

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