To the Editor,
Recent articles have rekindled my memories of what took place in Meaford in 1996 when the now defunct (thank goodness) Grey Bruce District Health Council (DHC) tried without success to close the Meaford Hospital. The Meaford residents rallied with gusto to assist the Hospital Board to refute the findings and rational of the DHC. Letters were written, petitions were signed, a candle vigil/march was organized and the Meaford arena was filled to capacity to meet with members of the DHC. Unfortunately in retrospect we may have won the battle but could lose the war.
Meaford’s victory if I may call it that was the catalyst that resulted in the amalgamation of the five hospitals in Grey/Bruce forming the Grey Bruce Health Services Corporation in 1998.
There was concern expressed by many at that time that some of the four smaller hospitals may be in danger of downsizing over time resulting in eventual closure. Although that has not become a reality the Meaford Hospital has become a shell of the thriving, cost-efficient Community Hospital it once was.
Now I note in media reports that the GBHSC is considering further downsizing of our fine facility moving us closer to becoming a Community Health Center in place of a Community Hospital. This will make it more difficult to recruit and retain health professionals in the future.
There is also much to be discussed concerning inconvenience to residents requiring special care particularly the elderly before any decisions regarding the future services to be carried out at the Meaford Hospital are decided on by the GBHSC Board. The Board is scheduled to meet on Friday, January 13 to discuss Meaford’s future. According to CEO Thurston the public will not begin to be consulted until late January. Sort of like closing the barn door when the horse is half way out.
Unfortunately the response from Mayor Clumpus is similar to the indifferent response the Hospital Board received from the Town Council in 1996. She suggests “not over-reacting” but wait for word to come from the Province. I strongly disagree. Now is the time for the residents to once again show their support for this vital community service before someone in their wisdom, or lack of, decides to take it away.
Come on Mayor Clumpus, lead the charge!! NOW
Charles Robinson, Meaford