Skip to main content

Rural hospital should be a hub for health care. Barry's Bay clinic shines a light

While the McGuinty government is trying just about everything (short of bricking up the front doors) to stop health care from happening in hospitals, St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry's Bay is trying out a very interesting experiment that is expanding the range of local services available through the hospital.

Instead of the usual attempts to close down hospital clinics, the hospital has opened a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) nursing clinic.  The CCAC used to sponsor a health clinic, but although it was located right next door to the hospital, red tape and bureaucratic obstacles ate up hours of time for patients, doctors and nurses if any referrals were necessary.  The clinic closed in February, unable to sustain itself on low patient volumes.

The pilot project in the hospital was launched on June 28 and is scheduled to wrap up on Sep. 12. Reportedly there will then be talks between the CCAC, the hospital, and the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to determine whether the project is continued.

"I think it's the first step to many opportunities to look at how, on the rural side, the hospital with all its resources, its history, its culture could be the one providing more care in the community" says the hospital Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Stevenson.

"We're providing some local care, right here in our community, people seen within a few minutes, and any time of the day versus in the past when you had to come in within those four hours. We can provide the service the whole day. It's just phenomenal."

Indeed, this does sound good.  
Given the push by the McGunty government to shrink the scope of hospital services (and especially shrink small town hospital services),  the future of local hospitals in smaller communities depends on them becoming hubs for a wide variety of health services. That integration will keep them vital and able to attract doctors and other health care staff.


Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…