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Changes to Day Surgery Services at TMH: Letter to Editor

The following "Letter to the Editor" was sent to the local editor of Post Media publications on February 25th, 2016:

As the Quinte Health Care Board Chair and a Quinte West tax payer, I assure you that the viability of Trenton Memorial Hospital is extremely important to me.  I fully respect and share the passion our community members have for the hospital.  However, I am concerned that some of the current dialogue about TMH does not reflect the whole truth, but rather presents unsubstantiated innuendo as fact.  It does not take into account the fact that despite grappling with an 11.5 million dollar funding shortfall, we successfully found a way to maintain the top priorities we heard loud and clear from the community: a 24-hour emergency room, inpatient beds and appropriate diagnostic services. 

After much study and contemplation, the board made the difficult but necessary decision to consolidate 2250 day surgeries currently done at TMH within the surgery program at Belleville General Hospital. QHC’s total volume of surgical cases is 30% less than similar hospitals in Ontario.  We cannot split surgical services between two hospitals and meet the expected costs set by the province.  Consolidating surgical procedures reduces the cost of medical device reprocessing, equipment, supplies, cleaning, imaging services and laboratory services.   The regional cataracts service will remain, which accounts for almost half of the overall surgical procedures completed annually at TMH.  Cystoscopy and surgical clinics will also remain.

We have been working with the TMH Foundation to do an inventory of equipment with the focus of identifying opportunities to retain and use it for other services at TMH.   Some equipment will be moved to BGH so it will continue to be put to good use by patients from right across the region – as it is now.  66% of individuals having day surgery at TMH reside outside of Quinte West/Brighton.  Only about one quarter of people receiving surgery at Trenton Memorial Hospital are from Quinte West.  Currently, 24% of Belleville General Hospital day surgery patients are from Quinte West and Brighton. 

In terms of the equipment being considered for relocation to BGH, donors generously provided approximately 1.1 million dollars of funding to pay for the equipment over the years.  Most medical equipment has a short life span and depreciates very quickly, so the current book value of the equipment is approximately $280,000.  That is why we are so grateful to all our hospital foundations, auxiliaries and donors for continuing to support new medical equipment.

We’ve been asked about why we are doing renovations to accommodate the consolidation of day surgery at BGH.  The Medical Device Reprocessing Department project has been planned since 2012, and would have moved ahead even if we were not consolidating more surgeries at BGH. This redevelopment is essential to substantively upgrade a facility that was first built in the 1960s.

We are very pleased there is continued momentum resulting from the report of the Brighton/Quinte West Health Services Advisory Committee and to be working with our community partners on the TMH task force.   I will say it again:  TMH is here to stay!


Tricia Anderson

QHC Board Chair 

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