6/2/10

Peterborough Cuts

The so-called 'hospital improvement plan' (HIP) is out for Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Or at least the slide show version of it. 

Instead of adopting the proposals in the Peer Review, the HIP came up with a bunch of new plans. That's hardly surprising -- the point is not "hospital improvement", the point is to cut, cut, and cut again.  The HIP proposes $23.3M in cuts and $3.7M in increased revenues (including a $2.6M increase in funding from the government). This compares with $25.7M in cuts and $1 million in increased local revenues proposed in the Peer Review. The number of beds to be cut is now 'only' 20, with perhaps some more bed cuts to come later.

Despite the decrease in dollar cuts proposed in the HIP, the number of full time equivalent positions (FTEs) to be eliminated has increased.  Instead of cutting 151.5 FTEs (as proposed by the Peer Review) they are now proposing to cut 171.9 FTEs – an increase 13.5%, or 20.4FTEs.

That's quite impressive - reduce the dollar cuts and increase the staff cuts!

Despite this, the PRHC media release claims “Our home-grown plan … minimizes job loss especially in clinical areas…” It also incorrectly states: “The interventions in PRHC’s recovery plan include … front line restructuring affecting about 150 FTE positions.”

More cuts could be planned.  Under the Peer Review, 9 telemetry FTEs and ten telemetry beds were to be cut. The HIP indicates that they will determine what to do with telemetry later.

The HIP plan is to increase the cuts to housekeeping and in dietary. So they will have more patients than planned, yet fewer housekeepers and fewer dietary workers!  Never mind -- hospital food is so good it can do with a few cutbacks. And there never was a connection between superbugs and housekeeping cuts.(Just kidding!)

They plan to get rid of 36 medical beds and create 32 ‘sub-acute’ beds. The HIP states that this increase in sub-acute beds ‘may impact the hospital's acute care, regional mandate’. I might add that these beds may be the next target for closure if further cuts are required in future years. That's where they typically focus the cuts (just ask your neighbours in Northumberland!).

Despite calling for the elimination of 171.9 FTEs (perhaps 250 employees, at a guess), the HIP estimates that there will be only 141 fewer employees by 31 March 2012 (2000 employees in total, down from 2141 now).  Bad arithmetic or something else?

Generally, it seems that the strategy the hospital has adopted has been to reduce the number of bed cuts so fewer patients will be physically pushed out onto the sidewalks, at least for now. For the patients that remain, however, you might want to aim for a bed near to the nursing station. You'll have more of a chance of flagging down a health care worker!

Quality of care anyone?  Surely Liberal MPP Jeff Leal can do better than this...

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