WALKERTON: At a public meeting attended by about 150 people from across Bruce and Grey Counties, members of the community expressed strong concerns about the way South Bruce Grey Health Centre is being run.
Concerned ranged from the new, re-thermalized food brought in from outside the region, to the issue of forcing staff to drive to work at different sites around the region. Bullying by senior management was also raised.
The union helped organize the meeting to allow the community to respond to concerns about mounting chaos at the four-site facility.
Many speakers stressed the importance of maintaining strong health care locally and stressed that the core of health care was respect for the hard work, experience and expertise of health care workers.
The meeting, chaired by Brockton Deputy Mayor Rollie Anstett, was held at Walkerton’s historic Victoria Jubilee Hall. Guest speakers included Ontario Public Service Employees Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Thomas donated cheques totaling $1,000 to the four hospital foundations.
“The community has spoken and has voiced its serious concerns about the chaos in this hospital corporation,” said Thomas, who promised to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Health.
Also speaking on the rethermalized food issue and the importance of local institutions purchasing locally, was Shane Jolley of the Local Motive project.
OPSEU activist Jill McIllwraith addressed the issue of bullying, raising specifically the removal of staff food and beverage facilities by hospital administration. Dave Trumble of the Grey Bruce Labour Council and former National Farmers Union coordinator Grant Robertson also spoke on the importance of treating health care workers with respect.
Besides the podium guests, the Friends of Kincardine Hospital also spoke to a number of issues of concern from the floor.
Hospital CEO Paul Davies was in the audience but did not address the meeting. Noting he was in attendance, OPSEU Local 275 President Trish Schaefer said “Paul, you have to do something!”
OPSEU represents about 275 full-time and part-time employees in service, office and clerical and paramed (hospital professionals) at the South Bruce Grey Health Centre.
The centre has four sites, in Walkerton, Kincardine, Chesley and Durham, in Grey and Bruce Counties.