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OSMH considering chemo options; safety and quality to guide decision

7/19/2012 12:00:00 AM

(Orillia, ON – July, 19, 2012) – Following two weeks of public feedback focused mainly on keeping chemotherapy services at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH), the hospital announced today it is working diligently with the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre (SMRCC) at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie to find a solution that will ensure the safest, highest quality, affordable care as close to home as possible.


“We’ve been busy following up on the tremendous feedback and suggestions from the community and we are exploring every possible option to keep chemotherapy services at the hospital,” said Elisabeth Riley, OSMH President and CEO. 


“Progress is being made and although we aren’t at a point to make any announcements, I’m confident that a permanent divestment of the service as originally presented is unlikely.”


Part of the focus during the community consultation phase was on the financial inefficiency of providing chemotherapy services, which prompted the review as part of hospital budget deliberations.  Due to decreasing patient volumes the cost to deliver chemo at OSMH is higher than in a regional centre, as they have more infrastructure, staffing and resources available.  


But Riley is quick to point out that finances are a small part of a much bigger equation. 


“Our commitment to safe delivery of this complex care has been our biggest motivator toward developing a relationship with the regional cancer centre.  The main theme running through all the discussions and decisions has been ensuring that the quality and safety of the care provided meets the current standards set by Cancer Care Ontario.”


“Staff in our clinic are amazing, but given our limited resources, from an oncologist and pharmacist perspective, we are challenged to provide a level of care that our patients expect and deserve.  One thing I can say for certain is that the clinic cannot continue operating in its current state, as the model of a stand-alone clinic is no longer practical and independent clinics are being urged to partner with regional centres to ensure consistency in care.”


Through the community feedback, many patients and families were concerned about the burden of additional travel, unfamiliar faces, and the perceived loss of personal, compassionate care and how it could impact their quality of life and recovery.


“Our goal is to find a solution that would be a win for everyone – our patients and our hospital,” she states.


Riley says that donor dollars could potentially help to revitalize the current oncology clinic space, which was acknowledged by many in the community as a significant challenge.


“We have heard a lot of suggestions about using donor dollars to cover the operating deficit of the hospital,” she says.  “Unfortunately that cannot happen, but dollars received for the oncology clinic could be used to cover information technology, equipment and space upgrades as those would be considered a capital expense.”


There were also concerns about other proposed changes to hospital services.  The hospital has compiled and responded to feedback received from the community.  A Frequently Asked Questions document is now available, please select this link to be redirected.


Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) is located in Orillia, Ontario (just 114 kilometres north of Toronto) and serves more than 440,000 residents in North Simcoe Muskoka. OSMH provides a comprehensive range of programs and services, including medical, surgical and emergency care, dialysis, obstetrical and paediatric care, complex continuing care, mental health and rehabilitation services. For more information please visit our website at www.osmh.on.ca.




For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Terry Dyni, Director, Community Relations

Tel.: 705-327-9179

E-mail: tadyni@osmh.on.ca    

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