FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Huronia Transition Homes is greatly concerned about the cuts set to be implemented at the Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) specifically: the closing of the obstetrics and gynecology units and paediatric surgical services.
If these cuts are implemented it will cause a severe deterioration to healthcare for women, children, socio-economically dis-advantaged families, Francophone and Indigenous people. These changes will limit access to healthcare services, which could have costly and long term impacts on women’s health and wellbeing.
The services being cut at GBGH will decrease women’s right to accessible healthcare. In Ontario obstetrical delivery beds are accessible within a 30 minute driving time to 93.8% of people in rural communities (less than 30,000). If the Obstetrical Unit were to close at GBGH, women would have to travel to Orillia to access these services; this would mean a 35 minute, to 1hr and 46 minute travel time (one way) for residents located in the GBGH catchment area.
This large distance presents transportation concerns stemming from financial barriers, which are exacerbated in North Simcoe as it is home to three of the four communities with the highest number of low income families in Simcoe County. Furthermore there is no public transport that connects our communities.
The 2005 World Summit sponsored by the UN Population Fund re-affirmed the need to keep gender equality, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health at the top of the development agenda. Yet the cuts set to be implemented at GBGH are counter to this, and impede women’s right to reproductive healthcare.
In Canada it is legal to terminate unwanted pregnancies, yet only 17.8% of Canadian hospitals provide these services. With the Gynecological Unit scheduled to be closed at GBGH the option for these services will be removed from North Simcoe.
The North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (NSM LHIN) needs to recognize that challenges differ between urban and rural communities, and that these challenges are typically accentuated in the North. To meet the unique needs of patients consideration must be given to the diversity present within the catchment area of GBGH, which includes members of Beausoleil First Nation, and one of the two largest Métis populations of Ontario.
A one-size-fits-all funding formula is not effective to providing quality healthcare throughout Ontario. The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care echoes this, recognizing there is a lack of rural perspectives applied in planning at the provincial and LHIN levels, and arguing the need for increased flexibility at the local level to drive innovations related to scope of practice, funding and system integration.
Huronia Transition Homes is more than willing to work with the board and executive team of GBGH, the NSM LHIN, and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to ensure that the needs of the women in our community are met.
Our community deserves and demands access to quality healthcare that reflects our unique needs. We will not sit by as women’s fundamental human rights are eroded. We have and will continue to lobby as a community, until GBGH reverses their decision to cut reproductive and sexual healthcare.
To get copies or to sign the petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reverse the changes to GBGH please contact Haily MacDonald at [email protected] or 705-526-3221 x 237