Skip to main content

'It is a political choice to systematically undermine our public hospitals': Durham takes hospital fight to Queen’s Park


The Municipality of West Grey is taking their fight to save Durham’s hospital to court.

“If these decisions are being made without concern for local impacts and needs, and without local input, then sadly we are left to deal with this situation through large urban lawyers,” said West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles.

At Queen’s Park on Thursday, Eccles, along with members of the Ontario Health Coalition, Ontario Nurses Association, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), called for a moratorium on local hospital cuts and closures, as well as announcing pending legal action to stop cuts to the Durham hospital.

Due to a lack of nurses, the South Bruce Grey Health Centre said they will move all 10 inpatient beds from Durham’s hospital to hospitals they run in Kincardine and Walkerton, starting June 3.

Earlier this year, Durham’s emergency room was indefinitely closed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, also due to a lack of nurses.

“What's happening at the Durham hospital is just the latest example of the Ford government ignoring the needs of local communities, just as they ignore the needs of workers," said J.P Hornick, president of OPSEU/SEFPO. "Let us be clear that it is a political choice to systematically undermine our public hospitals and patients and our communities will suffer the consequences.”

West Grey residents and officials fear that the erosion of the community’s emergency room hours and movement of inpatient beds will spell the end for Durham’s hospital, ultimately leading to its closure.

“The fight to save Durham hospital is about saving access to public health care for all Ontarians, no matter where they live. Residents of small and rural communities deserve high-quality public health care comparable to what’s available in large urban centres,” said Erin Ariss, RN and president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association. “ONA is united with community members calling on the Ford government to stop local hospital closures immediately.”

“There are two levels of decision makers that are responsible and could stop the hospital closure if they chose: the hospital board and the Ford government,” said Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition executive director.

“Neither has any mandate. No one anywhere voted to close their local hospitals. Previous governments have intervened, found staffing and kept the local hospitals open. The Ford government can — and must — declare a moratorium on hospital closures effective immediately,” she continued.

South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) President and CEO Nancy Shaw said the board “had no choice” but to move inpatient beds out of Durham’s hospital due to the chronic and worsening nurse shortage. She added the South Bruce Grey Health Centre has no intention of closing Durham’s hospital.

But that’s not stopping West Grey from heading to court to try and keep Durham’s hospital beds in town, and trying to secure its future.

“SBGHC seems to only listen to and take advice from large urban policy makers. So, one must fight fire with fire,” said Eccles. Top Stories

Stay Connected