WINCHESTER: MPP upset over bed closures, but hospital says they weren't being used

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MPP Jim McDonell

CORNWALL, Ontario - A decision by the Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) to close 14 beds is becoming mired in politics.

Local Tory MPP Jim McDonell took a swipe at the Liberals over the move, and suggested funding reductions are crippling health care in some Ontario centres, as evidenced by the WDMH decision.

But the hospital countered with the fact that beds haven't been used in nearly a year and represented an expense that need not be funded.

"These changes reflect the number of in-patient beds that have been in continuous use over the past year," said Cholly Boland, hospital CEO. "WDMH is actually admitting more in-patients than ever before. However, they are staying for less time due to advancements in the practice of medicine, new technologies and additional supports in the community."

Still, McDonell expressed concern with the impact this will have on the community, and laid blame at the foot of the provincial government.

“The Liberal government removes essential funding from modern and necessary hospitals such as WDMH, but can always find $1.1 billion to waste cancelling power plants, or $2 billion to throw away at E-Health," he said. “WDMH is an essential service for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, providing excellent care and stable, local skilled jobs. Enough is enough. The funding cuts that led to this closure are unacceptable and the Minister of Health must be held to account."

The hospital is dumping the equivalent of 9.5 full-time nursing position, but there won't be any actual job loss since part-time hours are being cut and vacant positions are not being filled.

The moves, in conjunction with a supply budget review and a hike in parking fees have resulted in a balanced WDMH budget.

Organizations: Winchester District Memorial Hospital, Community Care Access Centres

Geographic location: Ontario

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