QHC proposals coming Nov. 19

BELLEVILLE – Quinte Health Care managers will announce the corporation’s new restructuring proposals late next week.
Senior communications director Susan Rowe said senior staff will brief representatives of the Service Employees International Union Wednesday, Nov. 18. Administrators will then meet with representatives of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Unifor and the Ontario Nurses’ Association during the following morning.
Rowe said managers will inform their staff on the morning of Nov. 19. A press release in the early afternoon of Nov. 19 will follow.
The corporation runs hospitals in Belleville, Trenton, Bancroft and Picton.
Staff and the board must cut $11.5 million from their 2016-2017 budget in order to balance it in the wake of an expected provincial funding cut and new funding formula.
Though unions can make counterproposals, QHC’s proposals during the most recent rounds of restructuring have been implemented largely as first announced.
Belleville General Hospital will carry the brunt of the changes in this round, president and chief executive officer Mary Clare Egberts said in October.
She and other senior officials have outlined some of the changes, which they said will affect virtually every department across the corporation.
They’ll involve shuffling services between sites: about 2,400 day surgeries a year, for example, will move from Trenton to Belleville; Belleville’s complex continuing care unit will move to Trenton.
All four hospitals will continue to have 24-hour emergency rooms with diagnostic services and inpatient beds, Egberts and others have said.
Another proposal is for the creation of a Trenton Health Centre. The concept includes Trenton Memorial Hospital with other health and community services into one facility.
But only next week will the effects on staffing be revealed. Egberts said last month “probably more than 50” jobs will be lost.
The hospitals employ a total of more than 1,700 people who serve a patient base of more than 160,000.
Next week’s announcement had been planned originally for Friday, Nov. 13.
“We weren’t going to be able to provide the best support to our staff by announcing these changes on a Friday afternoon,” Rowe said.
“All the unions are asked to keep the information confidential until mid-morning on the 19th,” Rowe said.
“That’s to ensure that all our staff can, as much as possible, hear the information from their managers face-to-face.”
She said staff prefer to learn of the changes that way “so they can ask questions and understand the changes.”
Speaking after October’s announcement, chief of staff Dr. Dick Zoutman said doctors had discussed the proposals at length and identified only one proposal that could affect the quality of care – ending the non-urgent bronchoscopy day clinic after its first year. The corporation then announced the clinic would remain.
“We went through all of the changes with the directors, line by line,” Zoutman said of the doctors’ meeting.
He said bronchoscopy was a concern because it was “significantly” over-budget. He said it will continue but must work within its budget.
The board will discuss the proposals Nov. 24 and finalize the changes during a meeting in late January.
A rally against hospital cuts, mainly those in Trenton, is set for noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 at Trenton’s Centennial Park. It will include members of the Our Trenton Memorial Hospital advocacy group and the Ontario Health Coalition.

Originally posted on intelligencer.ca