The Barrie Memorial Hospital won’t shut down, but that doesn’t mean things won’t change in how the facility serves the local population.
A working document entitled “Projet de revision de l’offre des services”, published by the hospital administration, has proposed three scenarios to limit certain services at the Barrie Memorial Hospital in Ormstown, QC. Two of the three proposed scenarios include closing emergency services either at night or for part of the weekend which means residents would have to travel between 30 to 60 minutes to Valleyfield, Chateauguay or Montreal before receiving emergency services.
On February 5th, the hospital administration held a press conference to dispel any rumours about impending changes to services. They said they have no intention of closing the hospital, but they are considering limiting some types of services.
“We have to plan,” says Sophie Doucet, Executive Director of the Haut-Saint-Laurent
Health and Social Services Centre, adding that the real issue is that the hospital’s doctors are starting to retire and no new doctors are coming in.
However, this contradicts an article published in the Huntingdon Gleaner on January 30th, which portrays a bright future for Barrie Memorial based on the recruitment of two new doctors.
“It’s like saying ‘keep your car but we’ll take your motor,’” says Dr. Tom Vandor, president of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists (CMDP) at the hospital.
Dr. Vandor countered Doucet’s comment, saying he and other doctors will be working for at least another five years and he expressed his concern that the new doctors who have been recruited are now hesitant to commit after hearing news that services may be cut. The CMDP has already passed a motion to place a moratorium on any changes in services for at least six months, and would like the hospital administration to do the same.
Stéphane Billette, Liberal MNA for the region, issued an announcement on February 4th stating that the Parti Quebecois, when previously in power, closed down many smaller hospitals such as the Barrie Memorial. Furthermore, he has organized a meeting with the health minister to discuss this issue. At the Ormstown council meeting that evening, residents discussed organizing a bus to travel to Quebec City to support the MNA at this meeting.
Concerned citizens who attended both the town council meeting and press conference expressed their frustration that there has been a lack of transparency and communications with regard to the decision-making process given the importance of the health institution to the local community.
If you are concerned about potential changes to hospital services at the Barrie Memorial, you can contact the hospital administration to express your opinion. As well, their monthly meetings are open to the public and the next meeting is on March 13th.