CAMPP Worried About Future of Erie Shores Healthcare

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The Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process is concerned with future services at Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamingon.

Spokesperson Philippa Von Ziegenweidt says CAMPP is worried services in the county will be slashed when the proposed hospital is built.

She's citing a report from 2009 done by HayGroup, consultants to the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

It outlines different factors that would make the Leamington hospital emergency room "less viable in the future."

A CAMPP newsletter issued last month highlights sections of the report and asks whether a mega hospital would lead to service cuts in Leamington. It points out the hospital cut its obstetrics unit in 2015 before reversing the decision.

The hospital also finished fiscal 2019 with a $1.3 million deficit. 

Von Ziegenweidt says the government is looking to cut costs.

"What we think is we have a new government now, they're looking for cost savings under all circumstances and I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination to look at where could they be looking at saving costs for programs that are maybe not as heavily used in the county if there is a new hospital that is more accessible than currently," says Von Ziegenweidt.

The application by Windsor Regional Hospital to build the proposed $2 billion single acute care health facility makes no mention of cutting services.

And Von Ziegenweidt tells AM800 News, CAMPP has received feedback since sharing the report.

"I know Windsor Regional Hospital was fairly outraged at what we wrote," says Von Ziegenweidt.  "They felt like this was completely ridiculous but of course they don't want there to be any criticism of the plan."

Von Ziegenweidt says CAMPP feels services in Leamington will eventually be cut.

"We're not saying that the plan is currently to close down Leamington services, we're just saying that this is something that could be in the works if the government is looking to save costs in the future which is a very realistic outcome," says Von Ziegenweidt.

Von Ziegenweidt says the information and report has been posted on CAMPP's website.

The proposed hospital will be located on County Road 42 and the 9th Concession.

CAMPP has launched an appeal of the city's re-zoning the land needed to allow the hospital to be built on the site. The group has argued that development would encourage urban sprawl and is advocating for the new hospital to be located closer to the core.

A date has not been set yet for the full oral hearing before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

Von Ziegenweidt suggests money could be better spent on improving the hospital in Leamington, and not just in Windsor, especially since the Ontario Conservative government is always looking at budget reductions and efficiencies.

Erie Shores Healthcare CEO Janice Dawson is reassuring residents the Leamington hospital is here to stay noting there has been a growth at the hospital in the past 18 months.

Windsor and Essex County mayors meanwhile sent a letter to the provincial government and Premier Doug Ford in June, suggesting all local municipalities fully support a new mega hospital.

Officials with Erie Shores Health Care say they will respond to CAMPP's comments on Wednesday.