Sydenham District Hospital board officials are questioning why a provincial congratulatory letter praising the “outstanding emergency department performance” at the Sydenham campus was never made public.
The SDH board and Chatham boards are divided on emergency care in Wallaceburg with the Chatham boards favouring a part-time walk in clinic with no doctors on site and SDH wanting a 24-hour service with doctors.
Dr. Indraneel Ghosh, chief of emergency medicine, said last month physicians are concerned about safety at the Wallaceburg site and questioned quality of care at the facility.
Last November, the CKHA began raising issues about the viability of the Wallaceburg location.
However, a letter to Alliance CEO Colin Patey last June 28 from Melissa Farrell, executive director of health system funding and quality for the Ministry of Health and Long Term care noted:
“We are pleased to recognize the outstanding Emergency Department (ED) performance that has been achieved at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance – Sydenham Campus,” Farrell wrote.
“Your hospital has shown the greatest improvement in the 90th percentile ED Length of Stay (LOS) for all patients within the Very-Low Volume Community Hospital Group in 2014 compared to the previous year.
As part of the Minister’s Action Plan for Health Care, putting patients first is at the core of health system transformation. In alignment with the principles of Health System Funding Reform, we are looking to build on successes and further improve the quality of care for the patient.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.
Parsons said during an SDH board meeting last week, “this letter has never been mentioned to this board, this letter has never been mentioned by the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance despite the fact that the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance raves about awards that it gets.”
He said he found a paper copy of the letter in a mailbox he hadn’t previously known existed at the Sydenham Campus.
“I’m kind of in shock that this wasn’t publicized,” said Herb John, SDH board member.
“Every other achievement that the hospital gets, every recognition it receives, it is mentioned at the mission and quality meetings, everybody gets credits and compliments. This is a huge accolade for this hospital and the service provided in emergency here and nothing is mentioned and we found out by chance.”
Board member Kris Lee said “how can the atmosphere change so drastically from July to November, when we started to hear about potential changes,” she said.
“So within six months, how come everything went upside down in that short period of time?”
Parsons said the letter is a form of vindication for the medical professionals from Wallaceburg and Chatham who work at SDH.
“I think the professionals, the nursing staff, the physicians… all the staff that work here, I think have taken a hit in recent weeks by statements from the medical leadership at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance,” he said.
Parsons said workers in the Emergency Department were “tickled pink” when he posted a copy of the letter there the day after the meeting.
Requests for comment from the CKHA and Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) weren’t acknowledged.