At Tuesday night’s meeting, councillors will be asked to recommend collaborating with the Prince Edward Family Health Team and other services to petition Quinte Health Care to withdraw its proposal to reduce services at Picton Hospital.
In a report on ‘Analysis and Implication to the municipality by QHC proposed changes’ the Community Development Department recommends the petition and presents further mitigating measures.
QHC’s proposed changes include elimination of the following at PECMH:
- Nine patient beds – and serving these patients at home or another venue where they can be supported
- Maternity service – as proposed funding reductions would not provide adequate staffing for this service
- Outpatient physiotherapy services – redirecting these resources to meet PECMH inpatient needs.
- Endoscopy Services – and consolidating these services at Belleville General
Council received the full report from QHC CEO Mary Clare Egberts and VP Katherine Stansfield at the Jan. 24 meeting and requested staff to present recommendations.
The Community Development Department bases its analysis on four impact areas:
- The County’s growing, aging population, requirement for robust hospital services, locally accessible and high quality health care.
-Physician retention and recruitment
-Community impacts, and proposes the number of possible actions which could mitigate the negative impact of these service reductions.
The report, prepared by Grace Nyman, speaks to changes to overall quality of care with a decrease in staff and services and a decrease in residents’ access to services.
She also pointed to a CBC report “Seniors in hospital beds costly for health system – Dec. 1, 2011″ showing seniors represent 14 per cent of the population but use 40 per cent of hospital services and account for about 45 per cent of health spending of provincial and territorial government.
She noted the County has one of the oldest populations in Canada due to the in-migration of people near or in retirement, and the out-migration of youth.
“The above noted statistics are only magnified in Prince Edward County,” Nyman states in her report. “According to Statistics Canada Census 2011, the population in Prince Edward County is 25,260, of which 6,375 are over the age of 65 and represent 25 per cent of the population. Demographic data suggests that rural Ontario will see a surge in population over the age of 50 in the next 20 years. This sector requires more hospital and health care resources. It therefore makes no sense to close hospitals or reduce beds in rural Ontario – especially in an area that has a growing demographic of seniors such has Prince Edward County. They should perhaps even be expanded.”
Actions or Solutions
• By ensuring there are adequate support service alternatives, primary care delivery and quality emergency services, transportation services to hospitals in place and operating successfully before making any changes to the existing services at PECMH. This however does not make a case for closing beds.
• Work closely with the PEFHT to move forward with the potential relocation of doctors to the McFarland Property. Support the PEFHT in the development of their Hospital at Home and other alternative service delivery arrangements.
• Work to ensure that the Age in Place Concept is realized. Moving forward with the Age in Place Concept would also support our request to the province to have lost beds from Picton Manor assigned to Prince Edward County. Forty-seven percent of seniors have completed their hospital treatment but remain in an acute-care hospital because they’re waiting to be moved to a long-term care facility such as a nursing home or to rehab or home with support (so-called “alternate level of care” patients.) Seniors in hospital beds costly for health system – CBC News – December 1, 2011. This too does not make a case for closing beds.
• Work with government agencies to establish services so more seniors can stay at home and out of hospital longer. Services such as nursing and physiotherapy as well as transportation or help with household chores.
• Continue our efforts to sell and improve quality of life to attract a full spectrum of health services.
2. Physician recruitment and retention in Prince Edward County.
• Build on the innovative and enthusiastic programs operated or planned by the PEFHT and PECMH such as Health Links – which are already achieving the MOH’s goal of providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
• Formation/participation on a physician retention/recruitment committee or group.
• Develop quality of life incentives to attract physicians/ancillary care workers.
• Expand Programs – Continue to/and expand the work of Health Force Ontario and Ontario Medical Association programs that are providing better access through mentorships.
• Education – Encourage more partnerships with medical and nursing schools to bring interns, residents and nurses to PECMH and be seen as a rural leader in health education.
• Promotion – Actively promote the team of health care professionals including nurse practitioners and allied health professionals working to their scopes of practice. Recognize and celebrate the special skills and the vital contribution of rural physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.
• Expanded Family Health Team Services
• Bolster economy in other sectors to offset potential impacts.
• Make Prince Edward County an attractive place to retire or invest by ensuring we have in place alternative health care services, a walk-in clinic that is open all hours, emergency response services, transit services.
Nyman concludes her report by saying “PECMH is not only a financial investment but a human investment and one of the fundamental building blocks of this community. It is a cultural part of the community and is seen as the priority public service for many residents. We take pride in and are committed to the hospital. The community values keeping families close to home when they need hospital care. It’s where people gather at the end of one’s life or celebrate a birth. The people who work there are not strangers but friends and neighbours. In general, the hospital is seen as security, critical for health care, and extremely important in the maintenance and improvement of the social and economic development of the community.”
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