The Grey Bruce Health Services Board of Directors today (June 28) approved a number of staff recommendations related to the GBHS surgery program and initiatives to strengthen rural health care. As a result, the operating room at Meaford's hospital will remain open.
Board members reviewed feedback from hundreds of individuals and organizations, including staff, physicians, members of the public, municipalities, and Indigenous leaders before making their decisions on which hospitals would continue offering elective day surgery.
Currently, the elective surgery program runs at GBHS hospitals in Markdale, Meaford, Owen Sound and Southampton. The government-approved plan for the new Markdale hospital does not include surgery. Of the total number of elective day surgeries done at GBHS, 4 percent is done in Markdale, 5 percent in Meaford, 88 percent in Owen Sound, and 2.5 percent in Southampton.
“These are difficult decisions, and we are very grateful that so many of our stakeholders took the time to give us their comments on the surgery program,” said Mark Ostland, Chair of the GBHS Board of Directors. “During our engagement sessions, a number of suggestions were made on strengthening our rural model of care, and we have approved a course of action we believe will achieve that goal.”
The Board of Directors endorsed the following actions:
- Maintain the operating room at Meaford hospital and integrate it fully into the GBHS surgical program, ensuring consistent corporate oversight and management.
- Discontinue elective day surgery at Southampton Hospital and Markdale Hospital over the course of the next 12 months. Planning will begin imminently and a working group led by the Chief of Medical Staff and the VP, Patient Care and Quality will confirm time-lines.
- Upgrade infrastructure and equipment in the Medical Device Reprocessing Department and the Surgery Department at Owen Sound Regional Hospital.
- Engage internal and external stakeholders in the development of a sustainability plan for GBHS, which will include, among other things, defining the roles of each hospital and strategies to strengthen the resilience of each, and leveraging opportunities to enhance the strength of the five foundations supporting the six hospitals.
- Continue to identify and implement internal efficiency/cost savings initiatives that maintain quality of patient care with minimal staffing disruption.
- Continue to advocate, in conjunction with stakeholders and community partners, for sustainable changes to the Provincial funding model that reflect the rural realities of Grey Bruce and the unique challenges of the GBHS operating model.
“All six of our hospitals are critical to the health and well-being of residents and visitors, and contribute to the economic vitality of the communities they serve,” said Lance Thurston, President and CEO of GBHS. “With this suite of initiatives now moving forward, we can focus on building the resiliency of our health care system across Grey Bruce.”