The Council of Canadians Windsor-Essex chapter is opposing the plan to close the obstetrics unit – that delivers 300 babies a year – at the Leamington District Memorial Hospital. They are encouraging people to attend a public meeting on Tuesday January 20 at 7 pm on the issue.
The Windsor Star has reported, “That plan, the opponents asserted, would endanger women forced to make the [50 kilometre] drive [north-west] to Windsor to deliver, as well as their babies. It would discourage new families to settle in the Leamington area, already reeling from last year’s announcement by Heinz to leave town. And it’s an attack on rural women, particularly Mennonite mothers who make up about 70 per cent of the women who give birth Leamington District Memorial Hospital.”
The hospital is considering the closure as a way to deal with funding reductions of $2 million annually. The provincial government provides about $700,000 a year in funding for the obstetrics unit, but its annual operating costs come in at about $1.4 million.
The obstetrics unit had been scheduled to close on March 31, but, as a result of public opposition, the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) board has now extended that deadline until at least June. In late November 2014, the LHIN announced it would establish an advisory panel on this issue and on January 7 it confirmed the fourteen members of the panel who now have 120 days (so around May 7) to provide final recommendations to the LHIN on the future of the obstetrics unit.
The Council of Canadians will be holding its 30th anniversary conference in Windsor this coming October 23-25.
Public meeting: Save our Services
Tuesday, January 20, 7 p.m.
Leamington District Secondary School, 125 Talbot St. W, Gym #2
Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition
Frank Cinicolo, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
Ken Lewenza, Unifor
Andrea Cassidy, Midwifery Collective of Essex County
Save OB Leamington