On the last day of April the Windsor Star published a letter from Windsor resident John Dignan. In it, he brings up a topic that, until now, has been subjected to hush tones in out of the way coffee shops, or posts in the comments section of the paper’s coverage of the mega hospital debacle.
Dignan, probably smarting from the treatment Windsor residents are getting from the un-elected, so-called hospital location committee, looked into some kind of crystal ball and then asked a question.
What, he pondered, “… if 10 years from now the folks on the south side of Essex County are notified that provincial financial constraints require the closure of Leamington District Memorial Hospital (LDMH)?”
He adds that residents in the quiet communities of Leamington and Kingsville, the great beneficiaries of their local cottage hospital, will be told to forget about worrying.
The new mega-hospital will have you covered.
A few days earlier, Leamington mayor John Paterson, in an April 27 post published after a hospital story in the paper, does, “… freely admit we have been concerned from the beginning of ‘mega’ talks, but LDMH and Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) have been working with the LHIN and the Province in that regard. LDMH will play a principle role in the Essex County/Windsor Health Care system.”
It sounds like a cautious response because, in the end, can Leamington really continue to have a small, and probably expensive hospital, when the province will spend almost $2 billion on a new modern building with Essex County and Windsor covering 10% of the cost.
Windsor will be uniquely burdened with an extra $300 million or more to cover the expense of servicing the proposed bean field location. That is a small fortune for Windsor taxpayers.
If Windsor, the largest populated area in the region, can’t have a hospital in its developed area, home to the largest component of people who need a hospital, and has to settle for one in an undeveloped area near the county, why should Leamington and its neighbours get to have their own convenient hospital?
To some, the travesty of giving a hospital to some and not others seems rather arbitrary. What also makes little sense is Paterson claiming his hospital, “… offers specialized services for roughly 75,000 County residents from Wheatley, Leamington, Kingsville and parts of Essex and Lakeshore. The parties involved see LDMH remaining as a key component to the future of all of our health care.”
Why is his mini, non-mega hospital providing special services when it is not even close to the largest populated section of the region?
Surely the accountants down at the Ministry of Health, or even the so-call Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), will crunch some numbers and end up claiming it is just too costly to provide a small group of fortunate Ontarians, such as those in Leamington and its bordering communities, with convenient access to special services.
No doubt the bureaucrats will conclude the costly exercise, of showering some with such benefits and no benefits to others, must end, particularly with a mega hospital within the region located near nobody.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.