Ontario Nurses’ Association Speaks About GBGH Funding Cuts
Dear OurMidland.ca Editor:
Re: Midland Residents are Losing Quality Health Care
I am writing to alert residents of Midland that proposed changes to the Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) will adversely impact their quality of health care.
The LHIN recently funded a study which made 108 recommendations. The registered nurses at GBGH are extremely alarmed that some of those changes would cause increased suffering and even death to our patients. Recommendations included cutting beds from the intensive care unit by one-third and reducing it from what’s called a level-3 ICU to a level-2 ICU. Just a few years ago, this unit was cut by one-quarter. It is now routine that there are no available beds in the ICU for new patients who need this care.
In addition, the hospital may cut the operating room schedule, leaving it open just three days per week and eliminate pediatric surgery altogether, close the obstetrics department, close five other acute-care beds, and make other changes that will devastate local care in the Midland area.
As staff physician Dr. M. McNamara noted in an excellent letter to the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN’s CEO, downsizing the ICU and acute-care beds will increase the number of complications our patients suffer. Even worse, changes will increase the number of patient deaths. The change from level-3 ICU to a level-2 means that any patient with more than one health issue must be transferred out of the ICU to a hospital with a level-3 ICU. As Dr. McNamara notes, all ICU patients have multiple health issues and “other” hospitals are also struggling with over-capacity issues and cannot necessarily accept Midland’s patients.
It is revealing that many of the consultant’s recommendations utterly fail to take into account the patient population that GBGH serves. This is a rural hospital with a diverse population, many of whom are low socioeconomic, have mental health issues, or come from Beausoleil and Christian Islands, which have large First Nations populations.
If these recommendations are implemented, Midland and area residents will be ill-served by GBGH, will face long travels to other hospitals which are also over-capacity, and will see the eventual transformation of a vibrant rural hospital into merely a band-aid station before patients are sent to Orillia, Barrie or Toronto.
Are the residents of Midland and surrounding areas really willing to let a group of consultants, who did very little actual consulting with health professionals, seriously hurt their access to quality care? I would urge people to speak out now to preserve care.
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN
Ontario Nurses’ Association
85 Grenville Street, Suite 400
Toronto, ON M5S 3A2