Work continues on the work in progress that is Oxford County’s Joint Services Plan (JSP) related to Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, Alexandra Hospital in Ingersoll and Woodstock Hospital.
The plan was launched in conjunction with the South West LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) in March, 2013 to cooperatively utilize the strengths of all three Oxford hospitals, while retaining each as a separate entity, with its own independent board of trust.
The overall plan is to proceed in two phases, with the second targeted to be complete by April, 2014. Deloitte Canada, a management consulting service, has been engaged to assist in the ongoing process.
“Lots of great work has been done and the relationship between the three organizations has grown,” said Crystal Houze, Integrated President and CEO Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Alexandra Hospital, Ingersoll. “But lots of work still needs to be done.”
A press release issued for publication Wednesday, October 2 updated JSP progress, including recommendations on three major Phase I priorities: Surgical Services, Pharmacy, and Alternative Level of Care.
The latter priority is proceeding under a South West LHIN board of directors motion passed June 26, 2013 to reduce Complex Continuing Care (CCC) bed capacity in Oxford by 15 (six at TDMH, nine at Alexandra), by March 31, 2015. The Oxford hospitals’ Boards of Trust concurs with the number of CCC beds to be reduced, stated the press release, but suggests a three-year implementation timeline. Work to find an approach supported by all partners continues.
Recommendations on the first identified priority (surgical procedures) to date include a limited consolidation of elective eye procedures related to cataracts; endoscopy and cystoscopy procedures; as well as provisions for targeted surgical services.
“We’re looking at that across Oxford County,” said Houze. “But there are no decisions made yet on what that will look like.”
Priority two recommendations include further integration of pharmacy services, including joint human resource needs, identification and recruitment, and education and staff training.
Work on Phase II has also begun. It includes implementation of Phase I recommendations, along with developing collaborative service delivery models across Oxford for services including: laboratory, mental health and addiction, stroke prevention and management, and paediatric and children’s hospital. Governance options will also be discussed and investigated.
To sum up, the press release’s most tangible components are the facts the South West LHIN has passed a motion for the reduction of 15 CCC beds in Oxford by March 31, 2015 although that timeline remains under discussion; and secondly, limited surgical procedures including cataracts and ‘scope work’ are to be consolidated, although exactly how, has not yet been determined. The broader goals of both Phase I and Phase II were also identified, along with targeted timeframes.
Essentially speaking agreed Houze, its contents provide an indication of both ‘this is where we are and this is where we are going’ and are part of an ongoing effort for transparency and openness in the process.
“People will never complain about communicating too much,” she concluded. “Better to get it in there as a work in progress than at the end when the decisions have been made.”