Voice editorial just verbal junk, reader says


Sir: I read with disappointment Jim Blake’s recent editorial entitled “Open or Closed.”

This is a disgraceful example of the media stirring the pot and spouting out yet again the verbal junk that has been the editorial fodder of late.

Never mind if the health-care debate is open or closed. It is close-minded people who seek out the sensational and largely untrue elements of this sad debate and print them over and over again. The SDH board chooses to meet at the Wallaceburg union hall because their meetings must all be in the boundaries of Wallaceburg. Their meeting place is their choice. But I have spent seven years and hundreds of volunteer hours sitting at the CKHA board table, and trust me when I say that you have it entirely wrong about them being in any way “cushy.”

The leadership at CKHA has had no secret meetings to sell an unpopular idea as you suggest. On the contrary, they have engaged highly respected community partners in a much-needed dialog, for over two years and using the collaborative and integrated process required by the Erie St. Clair LHIN.

The only “non-takers” as you call them, are the Sydenham District Hospital Board, and the Wallaceburg community.

We may have poor ER wait times for non-acute visits, but we are No. 3 of 74 Ontario hospitals for serious acute visits, a remarkable accomplishment, I think. That is after all what a true emergency department is about.

I know that I am willing to wait some time, maybe even a long time, if I come to the ER and need a splint, knowing that I will be seen lightening quick if I am having a stroke.

I won’t “go along to get along” if it jeopardizes the financial sustainability of my family’s health care. Thank goodness that some of us will not compromise on what is right.

Health care is complicated. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to understand. It takes open-minded people to appreciate the changes that have happened in the last 10 years and continue to change every day.

At The Public General Hospital, the members are the board. We choose a skills-based board over community members who think they know everything about health care the first day they join the board, and who use it as a platform to advance their own personal agendas.

We have no problem with the community having a voice, when they express an opinion, and even when they jump the queue. But please save us all from those who continuously spout drivel that is so uninformed and misrepresentative of the truth, that it does not even bear repeating.

It is so easy to be an armchair critic isn’t it?

People can pretend to be experts, but they clearly are not. The boards of PGH and SJH have tried to take the high ground up until now, but enough already.

Personal attacks on the CEO and COO of CKHA are not appreciated by PGH and SJH. We value and are motivated by their skills and leadership over all the operational matters of the Alliance.

If only the community of Chatham-Kent had the depth of understanding about health care that this duo has, we would not be having this diatribe in a public forum. We are so lucky to have them in our community. It would be very sad to see the reputation of this fine organization tarnished and its outstanding accomplishments diminished by this matter.

I know you personally live in Wallaceburg, Jim, so I understand the bias. But your newspaper is called “The Chatham Voice.” I’m happy to present the more balanced side of the argument even if you are not. The Alliance after all is about all of Chatham-Kent.

Jane Havens

Acting Chair

Public General Hospital




  1. One board or 3 boards the vote is still 2 to 1 when it comes to Sydenham and the Tri-board has done nothing to stop the Sydenham site being raped and pillage.Yes funding is tight but over the years expenditures and grants for the majority have all been spent in Chatham.It is sad to see a facility as nice as Sydenham was fall into disrepair and no one in Chatham can't see a use for it(take the blinders off chronic care senior respite mental health) that was hard to do? Don't say you don't have money ,have you applied to the ministry for funding and special grants. It is odd that other hospitals are getting money for project. You have to want it

  2. Why is there stil a SJH board, and why do they have any say in this issue! SJH no longer exists as a hospital. Why was that board not dissolved? Is the senior facility still considered to be SJH? Seems like an acquiescence to a control group that should have been blended into the PGH board, long ago! I think Jim editorial was bang on and I appreciated his openness!

  3. Perhaps both Ms Havens and jIm have their bias. Having been in a position to experience CKHA over the past 8 years I can only give the highest praise to the Ambulatory Care and Intensive Care Units. I wish I could say the same about Emergency Care for seriously ill patients. That has not been my experience over several visits. There is definitely room for improvement, starting with getting back to patients about ER concerns.. There is room to negotiate an end to this problem that respects both sides of the issue. Let's be adult and find that solution so you can provide all of the people of CK with the best health care possible…


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