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RELEASE: Coalition Takes to the Street in Effort to Save Hospital Services in the City of Windsor

Posted: June 1, 2018

Coalition Takes to the Street in Effort to Save Hospital Services in the City of Windsor

(June 1, 2018) Toronto – At the Windsor Regional Hospital, Ouellette Campus, advocates of saving hospital services in the city of Windsor displayed lawn signs that are popping up all over Windsor.  The lawn signs are really popular and requests are flooding in.

The lawn signs deliver the message –

We ALL Deserve Better

Don’t Close Met & Ouellette

Vote Accessible Public Health Care

The groups are asking all political parties to consider the fact that the plan for a new Windsor Hospital includes a plan to close down both existing hospitals in the city. All emergency services and almost all acute care services serving approximately 400,000 people would be moved onto one green-field site out of the city, past the airport. The only services left in the core of the city would be an urgent care centre with uncertain hours, some daytime outpatient mental health and chronic disease services, and some inpatient mental health services in the city’s west side.

The public has not been fully informed about these plans, there has not been any meaningful public input into the decision to close and consolidate the hospitals, and the concerns about access to care for the lower-income communities in the city, the environment, cost to municipal services and EMS, and others have never been addressed.

More than 330,000 People Should Not Have to Compete for One Hospital

Across Ontario there are 145 public hospital corporations. In many communities there are hospitals that serve much smaller populations than the existing Windsor hospital sites and those have not been forced into amalgamations onto one site. There has been no public policy process, no debate in the Ontario Legislature, and no evidence supporting the mega-mergers of hospitals in this way. It is not usual, nor should it be accepted that 330,000 people across a geographic area of 1,850 square kilometres would have to compete with each other over the siting of one hospital. The county is in need of properly accessible hospital services and so is the city. The plan for Windsor is a poor precedent for all of Ontario.

The body of evidence regarding the costs and quality-of-care consequences for mergers and consolidations of this type is substantial and stretches across two-and-a-half decades. The track record is not positive.

After the Harris mergers in the late 1990s, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation published a 2002 essay taking issue with the myth that bigger is better. They found that during the 1990s the number of Canadian hospitals declined from 1,231 to 929 – a drop of 25 per cent, largely due to mergers. The CHSRF said evidence on cost savings from mergers is largely anecdotal and inconclusive, noting that mergers involving hospitals with more than 400 beds tend to increase the cost of management and administration. They reported that that larger hospital mergers tend to be less responsive to the patient, disadvantage low income patients, do not necessarily improve recruitment and retention and often lead to issues around staff morale and trust. The essay concluded that “the urge to merge is an astounding, run-away phenomenon given the weak research base to support it, and those who champion mergers should be called upon to prove their case.”

  • P3 Privatization

Today, P3 hospitals are so expensive that 2 or 3 or more hospitals are closed down to build one single new site, too small to meet the needs of local communities for the next generation. As a result billions have been taken away from care and local access.

Windsor’s new hospital development and any renovations should be done through public finance, not P3 privatization, and the savings plowed into establishing more services both in the city and the county for residents’ use rather than siphoning off public health care funding to excess profiteering by multinational consortia, consultants and the like.

The Coalition believes that people in the city and the county both need access to hospital services.

We are not opposed to additional and new hospital services, but we want to preserve a comprehensive range of services, including emergency, inpatient, chronic and palliative care in the core of the city.

More hospital services are definitely needed for people in the county, as well as the city. We should not accept that more than 330,000 people have to compete for one hospital site to cover an area of more than 1,800 sq. km.

Speaking at the Media Conference: 

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

Philippa von Ziegenweidt, Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP)

Rita Haase, Windsor on Watch

Lorena Garvey Shepley, Voices Against Poverty

Doug Hayes, Council of Canadians

Kim De Yong, Windsor Health Coalition


For more information:  Dana Boettger, OHC Communications, 416-441-2502 (office)

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, 416-230-6402 (cell)

Philippa von Ziegenweidt, Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP), 519-974-2789

Vote for Accessible Public Health Care

We All Deserve Better!

Coalition Partners:

Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process (CAMPP)
Council of Canadians – Windsor-Essex Chapter
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU)
Ontario Health Coalition – Windsor-Essex Chapter
Voices Against Poverty
WOW – Windsor on Watch

Ontario Health Coalition

The Ontario Health Coalition is a non-partisan public interest group and the largest and broadest on health care in Ontario, representing ½ million people. The OHC represents family and patient groups; the major seniors’ groups in Ontario; public interest advocates; careworkers, health professionals, nurses and their unions; doctors who support public medicare; non-profit organizations; equity, cultural and anti-poverty groups; municipalities; local businesses and others.‎ The OHC works to safeguard and improve public health care for all under the principles of equity and compassion that are embodied in the Canada Health Act.

Windsor Briefing Note Don’t Close Met & Ouellette