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May 08, 2024

Durham Community Hall was packed full with supporters of the Durham Hospital

Durham community centre packed to capacity.

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — The Durham Community Centre was jam packed full to overflowing with citizens concerned about the future of the Durham Hospital. So much so, that some residents were forced to listen to the presenters outside, through a speaker.

Jana White a Save the Durham Hospital committee member spoke about the efforts of the committee consisting of 20 members currently. Letters were available for people to sign, and lawn signs for people to take. White's mother was born in the Durham Hospital, White was raised in Durham. She emphasized that the Durham hospital was part of the community for many years.

Durham hospital nurses sat at the front of the community centre easily identifiable by the green t-shirts they were wearing. 

Many speakers questioned the rational that the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) presented in a media release published on May 3, that a shortfall of staffing was the issue for moving 10 inpatient beds to Walkerton and Kincardine hospital effective June 3. Other people questioned the legality of moving beds that were bought as a result of local fundraising. There were also many comments about the lack of consultation and transparency from SBGHC.

Maureen Rydall a retired Chief Nursing Officer for South Bruce Grey Health Centre spoke about her experience with Durham Hospital. She felt that it was not a staffing crisis and that staffing problems could be managed.

Kevin Eccles, Mayor of West Grey pointed out that Brightshores (Health System), with six hospitals, has not had to close or reduce hours. He said "It's not because of staffing issues, but management issues".

Dr Mary Pillisch worked 30 years in Durham and as Chief of Staff. She is worried about the state of a hospital without inpatient beds. She said that physicians have asked to be taken off emergency shifts due to no inpatient beds. She added that there are long term consequences to having no inpatient beds such as not being able to recruit new doctors to Durham.

Nora Beatty of Ontario Health Coalition spoke about the cuts to health care. She said, "Small towns have been hit the hardest." She added that Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per person in Canada. Hundreds of hospitals are operating at a deficit because they have to pay private agency nurses three to four times the wages of nursing staff.

Rick Byers, MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound said, "I will commit to doing what I can to help out."

MPP Dr Adil Shamji, Liberal Health Critic for Don Valley East spoke about Health Care being consistently underfunded and one in four nurses are thinking of leaving the profession. Resources are taken away from rural communities and centralized in larger centres, which means that patients have to travel farther for care. With part time emergency departments, ambulances are needed to transfer patients to other hospitals with beds. "If roads are closed, then what will happen? Emergency departments which are open 24/7 are needed."

There were several suggestions about what can the public do, in response to the SBGHC's recent decision to remove beds from the Durham Hospital: 

 


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