A letter to the supervisor

To the attention of the provincial supervisor who will soon take charge of Brockville General Hospital:

First of all, welcome to Brockville. We hope you get a chance to enjoy our downtown and our waterfront. If some of us look askance at you, please don’t take it personally.

It’s just that we start to worry when things like this happen.

To get to the point: Many Brockvillians are genuinely concerned about the fate of our hospital, so much so, in fact, that our MPP had to reiterate, just to make sure, that BGH must still be a full-service hospital when your work here is done.

In recent years, we have been through a scare involving the future of the maternity ward, anguish over cuts to services, the sudden departure of the chief administrative officer and the revelation (or rather, confirmation) that our hospital is in “extreme financial distress."

That’s one heck of a diagnosis.

And it leads to one heck of a question: What in the name of Hippocrates has been going on here?

Yes, we all figured something was off with the finances at BGH. A lot of us figured MPP Steve Clark was onto something when he criticized a new provincial funding formula as unfair to our local hospital.

And a lot of us figured more belt-tightening was going to be needed.

But now we’ve joined an exclusive club of just over 20 members. Let’s call it BASH: Broke And Supervised Hospitals.

And since we’re about to take a BASHing, it seems only fair to make one small request.

We want to know what the Hippocrates has been going on: How this BASHing happened, why it happened, who is responsible and how we’re going to fix it.

Hospital gowns are not meant to be transparent, but hospital policy should be.

Clark and others have been calling for such transparency since the unmentionable substance started hitting the bedpan. And the hospital’s interim president and CEO, Wayne Blackwell, has been doing his best to deliver such transparency, often working, one suspects, against forces of institutional inertia that will always drift toward secrecy.

Earlier this month, Blackwell even invited media to a staff briefing, to ensure the light of day finally shone on the hospital’s distressing situation.

As the people whose future as a community depends on a solid local health-care system, we have a right to know what is going on – even to contribute ideas in the ongoing effort to restore BGH to health.

So, at the risk of battling inertial forces, we humbly ask you to continue the Blackwell approach throughout this BASHing.

The public has a right to know.

And you might be surprised at what the public can contribute.




The people of Brockville