Mary Wilson Trider responds to criticism of the cuts at the Almonte General Hospital

Mary Wilson Trider4

The misleading and critical tone of the letter, Cuts at Almonte Hospital, written by Greg Jones, compel me to ensure the facts are understood. Managing a health care organization is complex. We are committed to and driven by good intention and responsible leadership, always keeping the patient and staff at the forefront of all that we do.

The 2015 Sunshine List includes twelve professionals associated with the Almonte General Hospital Corporation, however anyone who reads the document will note that the list includes three paramedics – front line staff who are members of CUPE not members of the management team.

What was simply a hospital in 1999 has evolved into three operating divisions – a 52 bed hospital, a 112 bed nursing home and the Lanark County Paramedic Service – with a $30 million operating budget and 400 employees. It is a complex organization, with numerous legislated obligations and accountabilities. One of those legislated obligations is a salary and benefit freeze for the Senior Management Team that has been in place since March 2010. Another legislated obligation is to live within our means.

Staffing the Medical/Surgical unit to reflect occupancy, which averages 65% (13 to 14 patients), is one way to move towards living within our means. This resulted in the elimination of one RPN position on the day shift and gives us the flexibility to bring in additional staff when required.

The introduction of a new staffing model on the Rosamond unit, with RNs, RPNs and PSWs working together for the benefit of our complex continuing care patients, will provide each professional group with the opportunity to work to their full scope of practice.

Many people in the community have commented on the quality of care their loved ones have received in Fairview Manor. This is the same combination of health care professionals (RNs, RPNs and PSWs) who have been providing safe, high quality care for residents in Fairview Manor for many years. The most recent survey came back saying all 100% of residents and families would recommend Fairview Manor to their family and friends. The PSWs who are members of the Fairview Manor team make a strong contribution to that positive experience. I am confident that they will bring the same skill and commitment to their new role on the Rosamond unit.

Speaking personally, if I am admitted to Almonte General Hospital or Fairview Manor I will be happy to have PSWs, RPNs and RNs working together as my care team.

It is unfortunate that these changes have resulted in some RPNs being displaced. We have worked closely with the CUPE Executive and Redeployment Committee to support their members through the layoff process and will continue to offer assistance in the job search process.

Mary Wilson Trider

President & CEO

Almonte General Hospital www.almontegeneral.com