SBGHC facing unexpected deficit

(Photo by Jordan MacKinnon for

The South Bruce Grey Health Centre board of directors is looking for ways to curb a growing budget deficit.

Interim President and CEO Michael Barrett said the hospital corporation is over-budget in several areas, which has resulted in a projected operating deficit of $1.2 million for the fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2019.

He said salaries and wages, lab supplies, patient security and non-urgent transportation have been the main drivers of the deficit, which is continuing to grow.

Barrett said it’s a situation that was not predicted for the corporation, which had been in a surplus position for the past several years.

“I think it was a surprise to many people, often in the hospital business, it’s a long-term game, so we’re running a deficit now, but we need to take some steps so we’re trending back to a balanced position,” said Barrett.

They are currently developing a budget recovery action plan with both short-term and long-term solutions, which includes engaging staff, their doctors and the communities of their four hospitals.

Staff scheduling is one area they are looking at, but Barrett said he wants to make sure they don’t compromise patient care.

“We’re looking at our scheduling for all of our staff to make sure we have the right level of staffing for the volume of patients we’re serving,” said Barrett. “It’s a complicated process across four sites, but we’re doing that now and hope to have that rolled out over the next few weeks.”

Barrett added that the hospital is legally required to operate on a balanced budget, so any deficit will have to be funded out of their reserve funds.