County hospitals to join health care alliance

Jerome Quenne­ville has an-nounced that Groves Memorial Community Hospital and North Wellington Health Care (NWHC) are join­ing the Growing Communities Health-care Alliance.

The alliance is the collec­tive voice of acute care and mental health hospitals across high growth communities in Ontario who provide care to 40 per cent of all Ontarians. 

“The Growing Commu­ni­ties Healthcare Alli­ance is working on behalf of Ontarians living in high growth com­munities to secure an equitable share of provincial health care funding to meet the hospital service needs of the Ontarians we look after,” said Quenne­ville, who holds his positions for all three county hospitals, Groves, Louise Marshall, and Palmerston.  “Working with our partners from other higher growth regions we will seek to improve local access to health care and continue to develop a range of clinical services ap­propriate for our hospital and community.

Quenneville said, “To better achieve this we need the government of Ontario to pro­vide in the upcoming provin­cial budget the hospital growth funding committed to in the last provincial election and for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to quickly implement the Health Based Allocation Model to distribute new hospital and healthcare funding to Local Health Integration Networks.”

During the 2007 provincial election, in recognition of the growing gaps in funding for hospital care in Ontario’s fast­est growing communities, the provincial government com­mit­ted to providing $100-million in additional operating funding to hospitals in high growth areas like Centre Wellington and Wellington North. As well, prior to the provincial election, the Min­ister of Health and Long-Term Care announced a new way of funding Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks using the Health Based Allocation Model, a made-in-Ontario mod­­el that is unique, fair, and sustainable, and takes into ac­count the health status of pati­ents in local communities.

Currently, Ontario’s hos­pi­tals are not funded on the basis of population and the needs of local residents. As a result, there are significant and grow­ing gaps in per resident funding for hospital services in high growth regions like Waterloo-Wellington.

Per resident funding for hos­pital care in the Waterloo Wellington Local Healthcare Integration Network (LHIN) is $262 lower than the provincial average. That means that resi­dents may wait longer for hos­pital care or by-pass their local hospital and seek care outside their communities away from support of family and friends.

“With Waterloo-Welling­ton’s population growing at the rate it is today, we are facing the same pressures as other sim­ilar hospitals that are providing care in fast growing communities,” said Janet Vallery, chairman of the Groves hospital board.

Patti-Jo McLellan-Shaw, chairman of the North Well­ington board, added, “By work­ing with other high growth hospitals and health care providers we look forward to collectively improving local access to hospital care for the growing number of residents living in the many communities we serve.”

“The … alliance is very pleased to have Groves and North Wellington Health Care join our Alliance of hospitals,” said Ann Stapleford-McGuire, chairman of the alliance. “By working together, we look for­ward to working with the province to build a more equitable and sustainable health care system in Ontario and bring about improvements to Ontario’s health care system that will mean better care close to home for the residents of Waterloo-Wellington, residents in other fast growing commu­nities and indeed, for all Onta­rians.”

The GTA and 905 Healthcare Alliance has long been an advocate for hospitals in the high growth regions surrounding Toronto. Con­tin­uing these efforts and given the needs of hospitals in other high growth communities in Onta­rio, the alliance is expanding.

In addition to hospitals in Durham, Halton, Peel, York, and Dufferin County, the alliance membership now in­cludes hospitals in Kitchener- Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, West Ottawa, Fergus and Wellington North. To reflect this new reality, the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance is chang­ing its name to Growing Communities Healthcare Alli­ance.

The six new members are: Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Groves Memorial Community Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, North Wellington Health Care, Queensway Carl­e­ton Hospital, and St. Mary’s General Hospital.