For Jeff Wesley, the best part of meeting with provincial health officials last week was to be able to tell Wallaceburg’s story from a Wallaceburg perspective.
Wesley met with a number of officials from the provincial health ministry to seek direction on the future of the Wallaceburg Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.
“As far as I’m aware, no one had specifically gone and advocated for Wallaceburg as long as I can remember,” he said.
“Being elected to the board and given that responsibility gave me the opportunity to do that. I’m very grateful.”
Wesley said he delivered scores of letters from local residents expressing support of the hospital now and in the future as well as detailed background on the Sydenham Campus and those it serves.
He said support from Walpole Island First Nations Chief Dan Miskokomon in particular was very helpful.
“They needed to hear just how passionate our people are and how much the area needs the health care provided at the campus,” he said. “What we’re looking for is some sort of assurance that our views and needs are being adequately expressed.”
In an email to hospital supporters, Wesley listed the following as questions expressed to the ministry.
- Where does the project to replace SDH sit in the capital queue and what can we do or what information can we provide to move the project along in the process?
- Parts of the current SDH are in poor condition and, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, SDH has not been adequately maintained over the years. We are concerned that at some point someone will say the current hospital is unfit or unsafe and if this happens before a decision is made on the project to replace SDH we will lose our hospital forever. We need an answer on the Ministry’s evaluation of the current condition of SDH and what needs to be done to insure it will remain open until a project to replace SDH is completed.
Wesley said he was impressed with ministry officials and the commitment to complete research within the capital investment branch.
He said the officials showed interest by asking a number of questions about the facility, its role and local commitment.
“My stated goal was to ask the questions and get answers from the ministry,” he said. “I was asked a lot of very good questions and received no negative messages or signals in the meeting. I truly left the meeting thinking and feeling that we were finally going to get some of the answers that our community has needed for far too long.”
He said as soon as he receives answers, he will share them.
“The Annual General Meeting for SDH is on June 25th at 5:00 pm at the UAW Hall – I hope to have answers by then (no guarantee but if I get them early I will share immediately). The public is welcome to attend,” he said.