By Mike Williscraft
With a third meeting set for tonight (Thursday, Dec. 13), the transition working group seeking a work-around option to a long-term closure of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital operating rooms is pushing ahead.
“What the transition working group is doing is really looking at the safety and operating issues at our West Lincoln site until that rebuild can happen,” said Dr. Michael Stacey, executive vice-president, academic and chief medical executive at Hamilton Health Sciences, adding all were “reassured” by Premier Doug Ford’s greenlighting of a rebuild last month.
“We’re still working to make sure that that does go ahead.”
The committee – comprised of HHS expertise across all facets of the operation – was struck to seek options to the proposed 27-month closure of the ORs, which would take obstetrics services with it, was announced Oct. 22.
The closure, said HHS CEO Rob MacIsaac, is necessitated to bring the ORs up to current standards for the accreditation process.
“Within that (the desire for a work-around) one of the objectives is to see how we can do that while keeping the services locally at that site which is clearly what the staff wants and what the community wants,” said Stacey.
“It’s really to try and brainstorm all the possible options.”
Stacey said it was premature to suggest any specific options, but he noted there is the potential for a solution which come in less than the $8.7 million projected in the Oct. 22 report.
“We’re looking to see if there’s a less costly option that might achieve the goals,” noted Stacey, adding the group of about 15 HHS employees is investing considerable time and effort to seek an alternative.
Dr. Mat Noble Wohlgemut, interim site lead, WLMH, who also sits on the committee said the talks continue to progress.
“We are continuing to work through options at the working group to maintain services and programs at West Lincoln Memorial until we get to the rebuilt hospital,” said Noble Wohlgemut.
“I am hopeful we will find a solution that will work for West Lincoln Memorial and work for the community.”