Save OB Gets Coalition Support

Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra (right) watches on as local mother Sandra Dick speaks about the need of the obstetrics unit in Leamington at a meeting at Leamington District Secondary School on January 20, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The Ontario Health Coalition is set to kick-off a campaign against the proposed closure of the obstetrics ward at Leamington District Memorial Hospital.

A day-of-action outside of the London office of Liberal minister Deb Matthews, door-to-door campaigning and pushing the issue to area MPPs are all ideas talked about as part of the efforts against the end of OB service in Leamington. About 100 people were urged to act at a meeting put on by the local Save OB group and the coalition at Leamington District Secondary School on Tuesday night.

Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra calls the closure of the OB the beginning of the end for a small hospital, like the one in Leamington.

“If [the government] says, ‘we can remove a service like birthing from your local town,’ then why is any surgery located here? I mean that’s a vital service,” says Mehra, urging action at the meeting. “It’s all about a community fight back. Meeting with the minister, meeting with the premier, putting pressure on the government and really pushing it so that they can’t ignore it. Often it works.”

The closure of OB in Leamington for March 31 was put on hold until a recommendation from an expert review panel comes back to the Erie-St. Clair LHIN, a process which Mehra says she has no faith in.