Skip to main content

Increasing ER closures worry Grey-Bruce residents

Summer vacations are all but over, but the hospital emergency room closures in Grey and Bruce County are on the rise.

“Here we are, the leaves are changing and the ER closures are still increasing. Personally, here in Chesley, we have a real concern about the viability of our hospital. Are we moving towards a more permanent closure?” questioned Chesley resident and Co-Founder of Chesley Hospital Community Support group Brenda Scott.

Chesley’s emergency room closed on Sept. 7 and won’t reopen until Sept. 25 due to a shortage of staff, according to the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC), who operate hospitals in Chesley, Kincardine, Walkerton, and Durham.

Hospitals in Walkerton and Durham are facing rolling overnight ER closures this weekend and into next week, on top of Chesley’s nearly month long ER closure.

“Here [at the SBGHC] we’ve got three of four hospitals repeatedly closed. In the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, three of the four hospitals have their ER’s repeatedly closed. So people will drive to the next town, and not really know whether or not there’s going to be a hospital ER open. How is that possibly an acceptable situation,” exclaimed Natalie Mehra, executive director of Ontario’s Health Coalition.

Mehra joined Scott in Chesley Friday because she feels it’s “ground zero” and will be the next small, rural hospital that will be closed after Minden’s hospital ER completely closed earlier this year.

Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra and Chesley Hospital Community Support leader Brenda Scott spoke outside the Chesley Hospital on Sept. 15, 2023. (Scot Miller/CTV News London)

“This year, so far to the end of August, we’ve had 498 emergency room closures in Ontario, so just over half way through the year. And we’re going to exceed last year’s record breaking number of ER closures [of 848]. It is completely unprecedented,” said Mehra.

An open ER matters to most, but more than ever to Scott, whose brother had a heart attack a week and a half ago when the Chesley ER was open.

“They got him stabilized and off to Kitchener for a life saving surgery. Had he had his issue later on in the day, that wouldn’t have been possible and he wouldn’t have made it to Hanover (the nearest open hospital ER) for treatment,” said Scott.

A ‘Save our Hospital’ sign seen on Sept. 15, 2023. Chesley, Ont.’s ER is closed until September 25, raising community concerns about the future of Chesley’s entire hospital. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

Scott and Mehra will be at Queen’s Park on Sept. 25 for a massive protest to try and draw attention to the increasing ER closures in rural Ontario. They’re calling on all Ontarian’s to join them.

“The provinces are responsible for planning and providing healthcare for people and they are failing at it, they are not doing it,” said Mehra.

Officials with SBGHC have previously said they have no intention of closing the Chesley Hospital or its emergency room permanently.

CTV News reached out to SBGHC officials Friday, but did not hear back by the time this article was published. Top Stories

Stay Connected