Letter? What Letter?
In mid October 2022, Arran Elderslie Council heard a presentation by the Friends of the Walkerton and Chesley Hospitals. They had forwarded a letter to all of the nearby Councils with the recommendations that grew from their research into the ER closures and the impact on local communities.
Specifically, they had concerns that the Hospital Board was “not representative of the population served.” They expressed the thought that the Board as constituted might not be in compliance with the Public Hospitals Act and also noted their concerns had not been adequately addressed.
They suggested is was time for a “fresh approach to the Governance of the Hospital Corporation” to make it more accountable to the local population and recommended that board members should be appointed by local municipal councils.
South Bruce Grey Health Centre has four member hospitals and it covers a large geographic area. Managing sometimes competing interests can be difficult. It takes, in good weather, a minimum of 45 minutes to drive to the Kincardine campus from Walkerton, 47 minutes from Chesley and over an hour from Durham. Owen Sound is closer than Kincardine to two of those other hospitals.
The Board of Directors has, at time, a difficult task to manage the competing interests of these four hospitals. As confirmed by Board Chair Bill Heikkila in the meeting in Chesley on October 18tt board membership is currently based on an internal interview system to choose potential candidates for the board. It does not allow for those who may have a different point of view to stand for the office. Naturally some communities in the area feel the Board is not properly accountable to the general population and would like to see Board structure changed to allow appointment from each municipality.
Arran Elderslie Council members agreed and prepared a letter to the Premier and the Minster of Health and…. The letter was mailed on October 31, 2022 and to date has received no acknowledgement or response, reaffirming the presenters’ concern about representation of the local population. Municipal leaders elected by the voters and taxpayers of this municipality are being ignored by Queen’s Park…a sign of disrespect to those who live here and to those who were elected to represent them.