Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Sydenham Campus in Wallaceburg. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Wallaceburg Residents Concerned Over Potential Hospital Cuts

As concerns grow regarding possible cuts within the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Wallaceburg residents got the chance speak out at a public forum on Thursday.

The the newly formed Wallaceburg Health Coalition held the meeting at the UAW Hall, with Sydenham District Hospital board members in attendance, as well as over 200 concerned citizens.

Sheldon Parsons, chair of Sydenham District Hospital board, says a number of local residents expressed their unease, particularly over the threat of possible closure of the Sydenham District Hospital’s emergency department.

“[Residents] continue to be discouraged at the amount of cuts made to the local hospital over the years. And [they’re] certainly concerned about the possibility of additional cuts being made,” he says. “They’re hearing rumours that may be the case, and they’re really concerned about it.”

Parsons says the three hospitals that are part of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance are currently facing a $1.7-million deficit, which is projected to reach $3.5-million in the next fiscal year.

“We’re concerned that these service cuts will affect the health care delivery that we provide here in our community,” says Parsons.

The Sydenham District Hospital board will be holding a meeting on April 19 and more information is expected to be released about possible cuts at the Wallaceburg hospital. The meeting is scheduled for 5pm at the UAW Hall.

“We are going to share with the membership, and the public, the general vision for what we [think] the hospital should look like and the services that should be provided,” he says. “A report has been made and this report doesn’t meet the criteria established by our board as to what services we need to continue to provide in our community.”

Parsons couldn’t go into detail about any potential cuts the hospital may be facing, but says the meeting will provide more information to the public.