Out from under the covers: The need for hospice-care beds in St. Thomas/Elgin


Much needed palliative hospice care may well become a reality for Elgin county, but the appearance of dedicated beds is unlikely before 2019.
However the groundwork has begun with a request for proposal (RFP) out for tender seeking a consultant to complete a feasibility study for a hospice facility to serve St. Thomas and Elgin county. With no hospice beds, it has been identified as an in-need area.
In a presentation to city council last week, Lisa Penner palliative care lead and clinical co-lead with the South West Local Health Integration Network (South West LHIN)  advised the provincial government is being urged to add 200 hospice-care beds.

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Restaurant closure re-opens debate on visible rating system


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The recent closure of Kings Buffet in St. Thomas for the better part of a week due to a cockroach infestation in the kitchen area re-opens debate on the merits of a colour-coded rating system for local food premises, similar to the program in place in London and other municipalities.
In fact Elgin St. Thomas Public Health does visit food premises to conduct routine inspections and re-inspections, according to a fact sheet on their web site here.
Food premises are any premise where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale.
According to the health unit, public inspectors do a risk assessment for every food premise in St. Thomas and Elgin county every year.
So, what are they looking for?
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Walk The Talk on Mental Health


opseudiablogue | February 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | http://wp.me/pLpCD-dH

LONDON – Words are not enough. OPSEU members in London and St. Thomas are calling upon the community to help “walk the talk on mental health” in front of Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) offices on Wednesday, March 9 beginning at 1 pm.

The demonstration follows more cuts this winter at Regional Mental Health – London and St. Thomas (RMHC) as well as in other communities across Ontario.

“For the past two and a half years the government has been working on a 10-year strategy for mental health,” says Kim McDowell, President of OPSEU Local 152 (RMHC). “While they have been talking about improving the system, the reality on the ground has been one of program closures and layoffs.”

The union is concerned that residents needing mental health care will have no place to go after the regional center divests beds to other communities and downsizes in 2014.

Protesters are asked to gather in front of the Local Health Integration Network offices at 201 Queens Ave in London. After a brief rally there, the protest will march to Health Minister Deb Matthews’ constituency office at 242 Picadilly St.

Want to help? Contact Kim McDowell at 519-765-8660.

Central Community Health Centre Taking Care of its Patients


The following media release was issued Thursday, Dec. 23 following a meeting the day previous with Central Community Health Centre CEO Judith Wiley , board chairman Cathy Grondin and the South West Local Health Integration Network.

ST. THOMAS, ON – The Central Community Health Centre (CHC) continues to take care of its patients following the recent resignation of a part-time physician and two nurse practitioners. A physician who
has been secured on an interim basis and nurse are continuing to see patients at the CHC, and the CHC is actively recruiting for physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners.

Opened in October 2010, the Central CHC is in a start-up phase and is not expected to deliver a full slate of programs and services until recruitment of its full physician and staff complement is completed in the coming year. In the interim, the Central CHC will continue to provide care to people of the area.
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LHIN consultation guidelines can’t come soon enough


As posted on opseudiablogue

The province has promised to provide community engagement guidelines to the Local Health Integration Networks following this summer’s Ombudsman’s Report.

In that report, the Ombudsman noted a board member of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN considered conversations on golf courses and grocery store line-ups as public consultation.

The guidelines, expected in October, can’t arrive soon enough.

At Wednesday’s board meeting of the South West LHIN, Dr. Murray Bryant said an integration proposal from St. Joseph’s Health Care and London Health Sciences “failed the most cursory test” when it came to public engagement.
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Redistribution of mental health beds in London and St. Thomas being implemented prior to public input


Posted from the OPSEU blog:
opseudiablogue | August 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Categories: Health System | URL: http://wp.me/pLpCD-7E

A significant redistribution of mental health beds throughout Southwestern Ontario is taking place without any decision-making process by the four Local Health Integration Networks that are supposed to be guiding services in this part of the province.

The Ombudsman’s office recently issued a report suggesting public consultation was little more than “LHIN spin” in Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant. In the case of Southwestern Ontario, there has been no public consultation at all.

Prompted by the redevelopment of Regional Mental Health Care – London (RMHC-L), the plan will reduce the number of beds in London and St. Thomas to about half of present complement.
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OPSEU calls for disclosure, consultation on London Regional Mental Health Centre plan


OPSEU has written to Health Minister Deb Matthews over the reduction in mental health beds proposed for London’s Regional Health Centre (St. Joseph’s Health Care).

The aging facility is being replaced by two public-private partnerships (P3s) in London and St. Thomas which will offer far fewer beds. The plan also calls for 50 beds to be transferred to Cambridge this fall and another 59 beds to Windsor next year. The new P3 facilities are scheduled to open in 2015 with a 156-bed London Parkwood site and an 89-bed forensic unit in St. Thomas. London and St. Thomas presently have 450 beds.

While the new London hospital will have the ability to add on 12 more beds, there are about 80 fewer beds in the scheme. The province has already reduced the number of mental health beds to below per capita levels recommended by the Health Restructuring Commission.

While the hospital has given OPSEU an outline of the bed changes, no detailed plan has yet to be released to the public.

The union is concerned that given this represents an integration decision by the South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN), that families, patients, staff and other stakeholders be given an opportunity to provide input on the plan.

This also represents another region of the province where mental health beds from one community are being taken to address the needs of another. In North Bay OPSEU is fighting to retain 31 mental health beds that will transfer to Sudbury when the North East Mental Health Centre moves into its new P3 facility.

“We ask that if additional mental health beds are needed in communities such as Sudbury, Cambridge and Windsor, that new funding be granted to meet these needs,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas wrote in the letter.

The union is also calling on a moratorium on further cuts to mental health beds given most mental health centres are at or near capacity.