Recent musing by Hamilton Health Sciences CEO Rob MacIssac that there is likely a need to further consolidate hospitals in Hamilton has triggered the usual round of hand-wringing about “losing” hospitals. Hopefully we have evolved from the days of the 1990’s when the Harris government stirred things up in Hamilton and elsewhere with a wave of hospital mergers. Back then the public, in some cases encouraged by hospital boards, were whipped into an overwrought state over potential closures, and the result was the less than perfect allocation of hospital resources that we have in Hamilton today. Back then, people who understood the system said Hamilton would be best served by two super hospitals—one on the mountain and one in the lower city, but territorial forces prevailed and no hospital save Chedoke was phased out. The fact is that the system needs to become as efficient as possible if it is to meet the needs of an aging cohort that is upon us now. The days of community hospitals are over– we simply can’t afford it.
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