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Newly-formed health coalition defends Wallaceburg hospital

Posted: April 7, 2016

(April 7, 2016)

Author: David Gough, Postmedia Network

A number of people passionately defended Wallaceburg’s Sydenham District Hospital during the inaugural meeting of the Wallaceburg Health Coalition held at the UAW Hall on Thursday night.

Shirley Roebuck, who is the chair of the Chatham-Kent Health Coalition, and who helped to organize the newly-formed Wallaceburg Health Coalition, said she heard people who were upset and fearful at the meeting,

Approximately 150 people attended the meeting.

Roebuck said people are afraid that they will no longer be able to access local health care services.

“It’s not good enough to put in a walk-in clinic in Wallaceburg and expect people’s health-care needs to be served by that,” Roebuck said.

The Wallaceburg hospital services an area of 25,000 people, Roebuck said. She also said that the Wallaceburg emergency department often helps out the Chatham emergency department when it’s full, as people and ambulances are directed to Wallaceburg.

“People need a full-service emergency here. It’s been proven tonight by the stories that people have told.”

There is no price on a life, Roebuck said.

“How much money can be saved at the expense of a life,” asked Roebuck. “That’s what is going to happen if there inadequate health-care services in the community, people are going to be hurt.”

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is forecasting a total year-end deficit position of $1.8 million.

The CKHA was told earlier this year that it would be receiving $2.5 million less than it was expecting from the province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

This has forced the CKHA to look at ways to make up the deficit.

It’s expected that a report will be revealed at the SDH Corporation members meeting that will outline possible changes to the way health-care is delivered in Wallaceburg in an effort to help the CKHA balance their budget. The meeting is scheduled for April 19 at the UAW Hall at 5 p.m.

Going forward, the Wallaceburg Health Coalition, in conjunction with the Ontario Health Coalition, plans to host an upcoming referendum asking people whether they approve of the hospital cuts and if they want the hospital cuts to stop.

A delegation from the Wallaceburg Health Coalition will also be taking place in a Day of Action protest at Queen’s Park on April 18.