Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The facts on our improved Mental Health model

By Rik Ganderton
President and CEO

Our improved model for mental health care at Rouge Valley Health System has received much media coverage.
But lost or buried is the fact that the new model will improve mental health care by –
• Increasing expert mental health crisis intervention services from 12 hours (8 on weekends) to 16 hours a day, seven days a week at the Ajax and Pickering Campus.
• Maintaining our outpatient services at Ajax and Pickering Campus. Outpatient Mental Health Care serves the vast majority of mental health patients
• Continuing access to all mental health services, including emergencies, through our Ajax and Pickering Campus
• Consolidating specialized Mental Health Nursing expertise for inpatient care so that more hours of nursing care will be provided to those patients who require treatment on an in-patient basis.
• Adding a further eight beds to General Medicine at the Ajax and Pickering Campus to improve patient flow and reduce wait times in our Emergency Department.
We are also exploring alternate patient care uses for the space that will be vacated in the Ajax and Pickering Campus. Among the alternate uses is the possible addition of more medical beds at our Ajax and Pickering Campus to further reduce Emergency Department Wait Times. These would require additional funding which we are discussing with the LHIN.

Furthermore, there has also been a considerable amount of misrepresentation by some parties as to the number and nature of jobs we must eliminate over the next three years. The facts are –
• 220 positions will go over three years: 60 at the Ajax and Pickering Campus; and 160 at the Centenary Campus.
• Of the 60 jobs at Ajax and Pickering Campus, 36 are Mental Health staff who will be re-employed at Centenary Campus; in other words they are not losing their jobs.
• Of the total positions being eliminated over the next 3 years, 72 are nursing. However, the nurses currently filling those positions will have the opportunity to move into newly funded positions such as those required for the expansion of the specialized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (14) and the Ajax and Pickering Campus (60) as well as the other options described below.
It is our strongly held belief that almost no person will have to leave RVHS involuntarily. Our normal staff turnover rate is about five per cent a year, which represents 150 positions a year. In addition we will –
• Fill vacancies in areas not being restructured.
• Provide early retirement and voluntary exit packages in accordance with our collective agreements, which cover more than 90% of our staff.
• Provide retraining to support redeployment.
• Fill new positions created by our expansion projects.
Our three-year plan represents changes for the better. Rouge Valley will be a top performer in the healthcare system. We will deploy staff at similar levels to our best performing peers. We will improve the quality of care we deliver and reduce wait times in our Emergency Departments. We will live within the money provided to us.
We know we can do this because we have compared ourselves against other Ontario hospitals. We have seen how they treat patients more quickly, with better service quality and lower resource use than Rouge Valley. As we do this we will continue to grow our services in conjunction with the directions of the Central East Local Health Integration Network.