There were many questions but few detailed answers during the first telephone town hall meeting to discuss the possible merger of The Scarborough Hospital and the Rouge Valley Health System.
The hospitals report that 8,300 people participated, although the one-hour time frame only allowed for 17 callers to pose questions. Two additional callers disappeared while waiting in the queue.
Perhaps the most interesting point the hospitals made was one of omission. Several times during the call the hospital CEOs emphasized that no emergency rooms would close, all four sites would remain open, and that existing patient care services would continue to be delivered at Rouge. No such parallel service commitment was made around The Scarborough Hospital.
The hospital CEOs appear convinced that the merger of the two hospitals will deliver efficiencies of scale and allow them to reduce administrative costs. No examples of other hospital mergers were given as evidence that this can work. One caller specifically asked how this would be different from previous GTA mergers, such as that of North York-Branson? As if to confirm their fears, Rouge CEO Rik Ganderton said that it had taken them some time to “consummate” the original merger between Centenary and Ajax-Pickering hospitals.
This is an issue the community should push on given the track record of Ontario hospital mergers has been spotty. In Niagara, for example, there is discussion that perhaps the merged Niagara Health System is too large to be workable.