Enhanced patient care — sorry, not in the budget

In the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital announced it was shutting 20 transitional beds in Unit B of the Continuing Care Centre.

The beds weren’t needed, layoffs would be minimal and the process would be completed some time In February. One option, noted CEO Paul Collins, was to move acute medical units from the fourth and fifth floors into Unit B and the already-vacated Unit A.

A funny thing happened along the way, however.

The alternative level care patients were out of the beds in the CCC unit the first week of January, in advance of two reports dealing with the proposed relocation of the acute medical units.

Why the rush to displace these patients?

The first report, prepared by PRISM Partners Inc., concluded utilization of CCC for the acute units “is not a physical issue, but rather an operational issue.”

It further noted, “the building is capable of housing the patients, but operational factors, and potentially increased operational costs need to be considered in the relocation planning.”

A second internal report found, “overall it is considered a move of AMU to the CCC ground floor could prove a more aesthetically pleasing environment and enhance the provision of patient centered care.”

Enhanced patient care … too bad that objective is dashed on the rocks by the following caveat in the very

same paragraph of the hospital report.

“We are concerned that the acceptance of that plan or any part thereof is out of our control and in the control and time line of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.”

The final recommendation of the report that addresses enhanced patient care … “it is recommended that this project not go forward at this time and that it be re-assessed at a time consistent with appropriate direction given by the Ministry of Health …”

Sorry, a pleasing environment and enhanced patient care just isn’t a priority in today’s bottom-line reality of provincial healthcare.

A story in the T-J earlier this week on quick repairs to the accessibility elevator at the Timken Centre proved to be somewhat optimistic.

As of yesterday the contractor, Schindler Elevator, had not even appeared on site to begin work.

It’s a frustrating delay with no word from the Scarborough, Ont., company as to when they anticipate normal service to resume on the elevator.

With the Stars hosting Strathroy on Tuesday for the second game of their playoff series, the hockey faithful who rely on the elevator face further inconvenience.

We understand the maintenance contract for the elevator comes up for review at the end of the year. It is to be hoped city staff and council keep this tardy response from Schindler on the front burner.

Perhaps Ald. Terry Shackelton could throw some light on the process involved in appointing representatives to the municipal accessibility committee.

Seems like several well-qualified individuals have been overlooked somehow.

Is it because they are nothing short of tenacious when it comes to accessibility?

More on accessibility at the Timken Cente here

One of those unheralded St. Thomas success stories will receive the attention it deserves on May 22 and 23, with the grand-opening celebrations at the Lions Club off-leash dog park.

The facility, in the shadow of Jumbo, has proven a popular meeting place for two- and four-legged friends and will only increase in popularity as the weather improves.

A tribute to the St. Thomas Dog Owners’ Association and Joe Spencer who have spent a dog’s age working on this.

Activities planned include dog photos and contests, fund-raising events and information booths.

A marketing tip to the organizers … dispense with the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and instead slice through a dog leash to officially open the park.

A great photo op. Really, it’s the leash you can do.

“I know we struggle with the downtown year after year, we cannot do it solely through the downtown level. We’re not expecting the city of St. Thomas to bail us out. Why hasn’t there been any discussion about establishing a Main Street organization with the Downtown Development Board.”

Seems like Paul Corriveau, president of the North America Railway Hall of Fame, may have a different vision of the city core than DDB president (and mayoral hopeful) Mark Cosens.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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