Consolidated elective surgeries still on the table
Despite a funding increase from the provinical government, consolidating elective day surgeries in Owen Sound from Markdale, Meaford and Southampton is still on the table.
Grey Bruce Health Services has confirmed that it will receive an additional $2.5 million in provincial funding for its 2017/18 fiscal year.
This represents a 2.07% increase in funding over last year’s amount, and was announced recently as part of the Ontario Government’s budget.
“This is very good news for local and regional hospital services in Grey Bruce,” said GBHS President and CEO Lance Thurston. “This new money, combined with adjustments to our funding base last year, will help significantly to bring some stability to our operating budget. It will allow us to focus more of our energies and attention as an organization on strengthening our unique model of integrated rural health care.”
Thurston is quick to caution that GBHS is by no means out of the woods financially. “Even with this positive budget news, we must continue to look for opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our services and programs if we are to achieve and sustain balanced budgets year over year.” As part of that ongoing strategy, GBHS is considering a proposal, as reported previously, to consolidate all elective day surgery at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital.
GBHS recently concluded an extensive outreach to hospital and community stakeholders, including the general public, to receive input on the surgery proposal. “As we had hoped,” said Board Chair Mark Ostland, “we received some good input from many individuals and groups keenly interested in their hospital. That feedback has broadened our frame of reference and perspective on this issue. There is much to consider as a Board, beyond simply the financial merits of the proposal at hand.” The Board will take additional time to consider the best option for patient care and will make a decision regarding the elective day surgery program at its June meeting.
GBHS is also optimistic the Province will make adjustments to its funding formula later this year. “The South West Local Health Integration Network has been instrumental in supporting our advocacy efforts with the Ministry of Health to recognize the unique challenges we face as the only corporation in the Province with six integrated rural hospitals,” said Thurston. “The Ministry has been receptive to our plea for a funding formula adjustment. We are hopeful that a new funding arrangement will be announced later this year that will bring financial predictability to the organization and enable us to better plan for a sustainable future.”