Province comes through

Sunday, March 16, 2014

IT was a long time coming and it remains to be seen if it’s enough and if it will be spent annually. After being hit over the head by a variety of hammers, including kid-glove taps by its own personnel, the Ontario Ministry of Health has come up with $14 million to ease the burdens on the regional hospital, St. Joseph’s Care Group and the North West Community Care Access Centre. Thank you!
Minister Deb Matthews was in the city Friday to celebrate Regional’s 10th anniversary. Though the word “gridlock” does not appear in the government statement, that is the primary target of the money she brought.
The scenario is familiar. A hospital built to house acute care patients is forced to contend with scores of stabilized, mostly elderly patients who no longer need that level of care but have no place to go for alternate care because there is no room there, either. Funds for long-term care and home care have been short and a new seniors care centre is still being built with 38 beds more than the old homes it will replace.
Ideally, Code Gridlock is a thing of the past.
Gridlock begins in Ontario’s busiest emergency department which gets to recruit up to 10 full-time and 14 temporary ER doctors. Recruiting MDs to Northern Ontario has always been a struggle. Hopefully, Northern Medical School grads will want the jobs.
The hospital gets funds for 10 new acute care beds though with overflow patients now being housed in lounges, where will the beds go? Another 26 beds will be for patients elsewhere with long-term illness or disabilities.
A nurse outreach program will be expanded to increase home care — a welcome option for all concerned — while 17 more spaces in supportive housing will “help seniors and people in need of care remain independent.”
All in all, it sounds good. We hope it’s enough and we trust that it lasts.