Grey Bruce Health Services is implementing a multi-year action plan to ensure the Corporation can meet the needs of patients in the years ahead. Like many Ontario hospitals, in particular smaller, rural, and multi-site facilities such as GBHS, the organization is being impacted by a change in the way hospitals are funded. GBHS is projecting a year end operating shortfall of about $4.5 million.

“This represents about 2.5 percent of our overall budget of approximately $182 million, which may not seem daunting, but when inflation is factored in, this deficit is expected to grow to $6 million in 2017/18 unless we make significant changes,” said Lance Thurston, President and CEO of GBHS. “The Board of Directors has approved the Transformation ActionPlan, a plan to reduce costs and increase revenues over the next three to four years in an effort to bring the organization back to a balanced budget without compromising patient care.”

All hospitals in Ontario are required by law to submit balanced budget plans each year to the Local Health Integration Network for approval. Hospitals are not allowed to budget for deficits and must operate within their financial means.

“Funding for our six hospitals is not keeping pace with the relentless escalation in costs to deliver necessary services and programs to the residents of Grey Bruce,” said Thurston. “Band aid fixes will not work – we need long-term, sustainable solutions that are creative, innovative, collaborative, and patient centered.”

The Transformation ActionPlan outlines several areas of focus over the coming years. For this year the focus will include: a review of the surgical services provided across the organization; assessing ways to reduce the length of stay in hospitals to be more in line with provincial standards; assessing outpatient services to ensure they are not duplicated in community settings; reviewing skill mix of positions to ensure staff are working to the full scope of practice; reviewing corporate and patient transportation costs; and, renewing our investment in technologies to improve quality and efficiency.

Staff teams are being assembled to look at each of these key areas, and patients, partners and the public will be consulted for ideas and input on balancing the budget.

Updates will be posted regularly on the GBHS website.

Media contact: Mary Margaret Crapper, Director, Communications & Public Relations, Grey Bruce Health Services, 519-376-2121 ext. 2806, mcrapper@gbhs.on.ca, www.gbhs.on.ca