A plan to strengthen Oxford County hospitals has been approved by the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
Resulting from collaboration between Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Woodstock Hospital, the Oxford Hospital Joint Services Plan (OHJSP) includes several key recommendations.
"The spirit of the plan ensures that Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll and Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital continue to support their local residents' needs while Woodstock Hospital serves as a multi-community health-care provider for both local and surrounding communities," said hospital officials. "Each hospital has identified ways to integrate and instigate additional collaboration over the coming years."
Some of the key recommendations in the plan include the creation of a centre of excellence for cataracts at Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll, creation of a centre of excellence for endoscopy at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and creation of a centre of excellence for pediatric and children's health at Woodstock Hospital.
Along with all current surgical services, Woodstock Hospital will continue to deliver cataract and endoscopy services.
"We welcome the recommendations from the OHJSP because they confirm that there will be no hospital closings," said Carol Prouse, chair of the Alexandra Hospital Board of Trust. "In fact, the OHJSP ensures the long-term viability of Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Woodstock Hospital to provide health care for our communities."
Those who developed the plan said creating centres of excellence means:
- Individual hospitals have proven to be highly effective and efficient at specialized procedures.
- Resources will be focused on a specific procedure at a specific location.
- Highly specialized skills will produce best outcomes with greatest cost efficiency.
- People from surrounding communities will be encouraged to utilize the centres for specific procedures.
- There is more opportunity to improve the quality of care and ensure health care services in Oxford County are second to none.
The OHJSP recommended decreasing complex continuing care beds by six at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and nine at Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll.
Hospital officials said with the implementation of the province's Home First program, where patients are discharged with the appropriate level of care, some complex continuing care beds were no longer being fully utilized.
"The three hospitals entered into this initiative with the intention of finding ways to work together to provide the highest quality care as close to home as possible without wasting precious funding, said Duaine Nelson, chair of the board of directors at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital. "They have done an exemplary job of identifying efficiencies and eliminating redundancies."
Hospital officials said the OHJSP is the result of equal input from each hospital with six working groups established to examine each priority area.
The working groups included board, management and staff representatives from each of the three hospitals as well as external stakeholders.
Additional plan recommendations for integration included laboratory services, mental health and addiction services and pediatric and children's health.
"Through collaboration, the three hospitals have developed a plan that is focused on conserving a sustainable, quality health care system for the people of Oxford County," said Wilma Boughtflower, chair of the Woodstock Hospital board of trust. "Together we will continue to advocate on behalf of our patients and their families while delivering compassionate care to our community."