Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Health Coalition

November 18, 2016 16:05 ET

Report slams hospital mega-mergers in Durham and Scarborough citing tens of millions in costs, "appalling" process of public consultation, risk of severe cuts to patient care


Attn: Assignment Editor

Representatives from the Durham and Ontario Health Coalitions released a new report today analyzing the documents filed by government planners and hospital executives regarding the mega-mergers of the Scarborough and Durham hospitals. These mergers cover hospitals that serve more than a million residents, almost none of whom have been consulted, the coalition noted.

"The Minister's plan would create two mega-mergers out of three already very large public hospital corporations that are themselves the products of an earlier round of restructuring", the coalition reports. "Despite the fact that these are public hospitals that are funded by Ontarians and should be accountable to the public, there remain serious issues raised by concerned community members that have, to date, been almost entirely ignored by government planners."

The report The Costs and Consequences of Mega Mergers: An Analysis of the Hospital Restructuring Plans for Scarborough and Durham found the following:

  • The total cost for the mergers has risen to almost $50 million; $18.2 million for Durham and $29.6 million for Scarborough. There are almost no "savings" identified in the government's own planning documents. The mergers will take up to 62 years to pay off. Starting as soon as the merger is finalized, if it goes through, the $50 million in costs will come out of the hospital operating budgets, reducing funds available for patient care.
  • Merger costs listed in hospital documents include millions of dollars for lawyers, PR consultants and advertising to sell the merger plans to the public, tens of millions to merge telephones and emails, and additional millions to lay off staff.
  • In 2013, the Scarborough Hospital had to cut approximately $17 million due to funding shortfalls. This resulted in the closure of 20 surgical beds and two operating rooms. Emergency department stretchers were cut. More than 22 hospital departments experienced cuts. More than 200 nurses, health professionals and patient support staff were cut. Outpatient services were cut and the arthritis clinic that saw more than 2,000 visits per year was closed down. This $17 million cut is 1/3 of the projected cost of the $50 million merger - and puts the impact on patient care in context. Hospital executives, government consultants and Health Minister falsely claim that the $50 million in new costs will be "absorbed" by local hospitals without damaging services.
  • The coalition compared hospital planning documents from across Canada, Europe and the United States to the documents created by hospital executives and government planners in this case. There is no single concrete proposal to improve patient care in the Scarborough-Durham documents and no rationale given for the forced mergers. There is no evidence to support the mega-mergers. There is no cost-benefit analysis and no comparison of alternatives. There is no proper analysis of population need and socio-economic factors, no measure of current hospital capacity in each site, no connection to patient care planning. The list of what is missing amounts to more than 50 measures regularly considered in peer jurisdictions.
  • The so-called public consultation process has been tightly controlled and geared to forcing the mergers through. There is no public policy to support mega-mergers in Ontario. There have been no public hearings. First, hospital executives and now the Health Minister have attempted to present the mergers as "done deals" while paying lip-service to public consultation. Egregious violations of proper process have occurred, culminating in the Minister's decision to order the integration by fiat. The coalition warns that this process sets an "appalling" precedent.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Health Coalition
    Natalie Mehra
    executive director
    (416) 230-6402 (cell)

    Durham Health Coalition
    Trish McAuliffe
    co chair
    (905) 706-5806 (cell)