Dough in hand, HHS can get it done

Many, many, many months ago, Tony Joosse was asking HHS for one simple thing: a barbecue on the front lawn to show the staff at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital how much they mean to the community.
No doubt they needed the mental boost then but it was never permitted. It was even discussed to have the barbecue anyways at an adjacent parking lot and have to-go containers so staff who were short for time could grab something on the run. It was decided that would really defeat the purpose of creating an air of optimism and positivity since there would be no cooperation in hosting it in the first place.
It is that kind of disrespect and utter dismissal which has become the rule rather than the exception over the last year under Hamilton Health Sciences.
And if you think staff don’t need a pat on the back these days, think again.
Over the last week I have heard many accounts of how staff have been “beaten up” because they dared speak to the media – me – about HHS’s most recent decision – to close obstetrics for about one year.
Before I go a word further, it is important to note, with full recognition, HHS has a tough job to do. They face cost concerns in the face of revenue constraints. Sure there are staffing issues with an ultra-competitive environment coast to coast.
Management can be brutal in its decisions but humane in its conduct. Business and economics are not fun. It rarely, if ever, cares even one iota about the human element of its decisions.
My understanding for the handling of the WLMH file gets off the bus at that point, however.
That is why I called last week for the province to hire a supervisor to extract HHS’s management from the oversight of WLMH until full service levels are restored and the shovel is in the ground for the rebuild.
If that is not done, HHS will go down that path kicking and screaming into that good night. So far, every single opportunity muck up the process and delay that shovel beyond the next provincial election has been taken.
That is not just my view, but the view of the majority of local officials who have been paying close attention to this ongoing saga since October 2018 when the “need” for a 27-month closure was first conjured.
And if you think it is just, “There goes Mike, blowing off hot air again”, think again.
Note the comment from Dr. Tom Estall on this edition’s front page.
I have known Dr. Estall virtually from the time he settled in Jordan many years ago. In his working life, he was a highly respected physician and director of emergency medicine at the very busy St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“A year ago, WLMH’s obstetrical program enjoyed an award-winning reputation,” said Dr. Estall.
“Last October, Hamilton Health Sciences, which operates WLMH, declared the facility posed a danger to patient safety and required improvement.”
“After a year of their best efforts, HHS has succeeded to the point that the OB program has left Grimsby in pieces.”
“The question becomes – how much more of HHS’s improvements can WLMH survive?”
If I may so bold as to interpret…the good doctor is calling bullpucky on just about every move HHS has made in the last year.
As well, from previous interviews with Dr. Estall going back to the Accreditation Canada angle which was being played, it is known Dr. Estall believes – as I do – the patient safety issue relating to sterile equipment storage was overblown from the start.
So, it’s Thanksgiving you HHS folk. Let’s stop the threats. Let’s stop the meeting cancellations. Let’s turn the page and do right by Team WLMH, please.
The provincial government has come through, yet again on Tuesday, for WLMH by expediting $2 million to get the renovations you claim are needed. The process has been approved to tack that work onto an existing work order with changes instead of having to go though an entire tender process.
Now the ball is in your court…again.
Show staff, show the community you can do the right thing by expediting the contracts and work – including a 24/7 construction plan, which those in the construction field say could reduce the closure window for obstetrics from a year down to 2-3 months.
You have that ability, HHS. Now what are you going to do about it?

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