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Port Hope resident urges others to contact MPP, MP about NHH changes

Posted: February 4, 2016

(February 4, 2016)

By: Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE – In the face of hospital funding cuts, restructuring and layoffs at Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) in Cobourg, a Port Hope author is advising people to contact their local MP and MPP.

“And write letters to the editor, it all makes people more aware (of what is going on),” Ruth Daigneault told Northumberland Today.

Daigneault, herself a senior suffering with severe arthritis in her knees that has kept her house bound this winter, is particularly concerned about the combining of palliative and restorative care units and the resulting reduction of nursing staff.

“The decision to cut out the service provided by the palliative care unit (with the merger) at a time when the population is aging is not only irresponsible, it is sending a loud and clear message to the sick and elderly that the hospital no longer cares about them,” she stated in a letter to the editor and reiterated during an interview.

She commended palliative care internist Dr. David Moorsom who works at NHH for speaking out about the adverse impact of the proposed hospital restructuring changes on quality of care.

“It is time for everyone to stand with Dr. Moorsom to right this erroneous decision,” she said, referring to a Feb. 2 article in this newspaper.

Palliative care is not just for the elderly, she stressed.

“Cancer and MS don’t play favourites and debilitating diseases affect everyone.’”

The palliative care team in NHH has been praised by many people who have benefitted from the help they needed when a loved one was dying. Many bequeaths to the hospital come as a result of that.

Sometimes there is no one even there for a patient during that end of life time other than nursing staff,” Daigneault continued. With more patients cared for by fewer nurses, more people who are often afraid to die alone, will end up doing just that, she said.

The author also said she believes few people have read the lengthy hospital restructuring report that is on the NHH website but she found it contrary in many areas including that the changes in the plan may actually ultimately result in less funding for palliative care in the Cobourg hospital.

Meantime, the co-chair of the Ontario Health Coalition’s Northumberland Branch, Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas, says she” can not see how” palliative and restorative care “can be successfully merged.”

And she said: “It is a shame that at a time when more emphasis is going to be on end of life care and choices (given the demographics of this area) that the Northumberland Hills Hospital is going to reduce the specialty of palliative care.”

Like Daigneault, Mackenzie-Nicholas is urging people to let government representatives for the local riding know that they want more hospital funding, not less.

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