The Ontario Health Coalition warns a potential amalgamation of hospitals in Peterborough and Lindsay will lead to job losses and service reductions.
The coalition hosted a forum on Thursday night in Peterborough to discuss the proposed amalgamation between Peterborough Regional Health Centre and Ross Memorial Hospital. The amalgamation could including delivery of clinical and frontline services, back-office functions, leadership and governance.
The hospitals over the summer have conducted public consultations prior to submitting a joint proposal to the Central East Local Health Integration Network this fall.
The coalition told the audience that hospital amalgamations come with new problems.
“When they amalgamate hospitals, it’s one hospital across multiple sites,” said coalition executive director Natalie Mehra.
“So all the birthing goes to one site; all the surgeries to one site; all the long-term beds, all the chronic care beds all go to one site. And the people end up having to drive from town to town to town to access their services.
“It’s really the death of the community hospital as we know it.”
The coalition cited the Niagara region as an example where patients travel to the hospital in St. Catharines for surgery but go to Port Colborne or Fore Erie further away for chronic care.
“If you take all the chronic care beds, as is likely to happen, and put them over in Lindsay, all the seniors who want to visit loved ones every day will have to drive to Lindsay to do that,” she said. “This has happened in every single place where amalgamation has taken place in Ontario.”
Roy Brady, president of the Peterborough chapter of the OHC, says the bigger concern for residents is the threat of the transfer of services.
“Uncertainty, number one,” he said. “Number two, the threat that services will be transferred from one hospital to another, otherwise they would just have two hospitals. So something has to change, and we’re concerned about that.”
Officials with both hospitals told CHEX News they want to wait till the official stakeholder engagement process resumes this month before making comment.
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