mfd hospital270Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) has announced that they will host a public information session at the Meaford & St. Vincent Community Centre on Tuesday March 28 at 7 p.m.

During this session, GBHS President and CEO Lance Thurston will review the many initiatives GBHS is currently pursuing to return the organization to a balanced financial position. One of the initiatives, which will be the main focus of the session, is a recommendation to consolidate elective day surgeries currently performed at the Meaford, Markdale and Southampton hospitals into the surgical program at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital,” said the GBHS in a press release issued on Wednesday.

Earlier this month roughly 200 residents filled the pews at the Meaford United Church on Monday, March 13, to hear Grey Bruce Health Services CEO Lance Thurston make a presentation to Meaford's council that outlined the case for consolidation of surgical services as part of an effort to find significant cost savings aimed at mitigating budget shortfalls after changes to the provincial funding formula for hospitals negatively impacted the GBHS.

Thurston told council that while the the proposed consolidation of surgical services to Owen Sound would mean the discontinuation of day surgeries at the Meaford, Markdale, and Southampton hospitals, it would also mean savings of $550,000 per year. If implemented, the consolidation of surgical services would also negate the need to spend $3 million to replace and refurbish surgical equipment and sterilization systems, along with other required improvements to the rural operating rooms.

Currently five percent of the roughly 10,000 day surgeries conducted by GBHS hospitals each year are done in Meaford. Thurston says that the Owen Sound operating rooms are currently running at 87 percent capacity and could absorb the additional six to eight extra surgeries per day that would result if surgical services were to be consolidated.

After six years of balanced budgets, GBHS, which operates six hospitals as well as a withdrawal management centre, is now facing the prospect of hefty annual operating deficits due in part to a change in the provincial funding model for hospitals their size. In his presentation Thurston noted that if GBHS does not change its cost structure, the annual deficit from operations is expected to exceed $17 million by the end of 2019/20.

A dedicated phone line (519-378-1587) and email ( have been set up for those interested in commenting on the consolidation of surgical services, or for anyone wanting to make suggestions or share their concerns on the issue.

In addition to the public meeting to be held in Meaford on March 28, the GBHS said that public information sessions are also being planned in Southampton and Markdale where surgical services are also currently provided.

All members of the public are welcome to attend. Parking is free.

Meaford Public Information Session:

Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time: 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Place: Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre, Auditorium 151 Collingwood Street West, Meaford