Expressions of concern about our hospital cuts must be heeded; doctors who have privileges at the hospital, and other professionals, have all joined in to demonstrate how they feel. The professional concerns are also shared by many in the public who have had deep involvement in the hospital, which after all is now our main regional hospital. In to-day’s aging society it is hard to believe that the hospital administration would decide to make the proposed cuts to the Rehabilitation Unit. The grossly reduced services of the Out-patient Physiotherapy Unit has been hard to accept without further reducing rehabilitation services.
The people of the area should be screaming and shouting that this move is totally unacceptable – the voice of the people must be listened to.
In hard times economic cuts are needed in many societal services, from schools to hospitals to government service offices. Over the years we have watched all this evolving, first reducing staff at the lower levels of the service then facilities; community schools are closed, government offices are shut down and hospital facilities are grossly reduced.
It always seems that administrators turn to cutting the services provided by the lower echelons when economic circumstances become frail. Might I suggest that the top fifteen members of the administrative staff take a cut in salary rather than reducing vital services. This would, at minimum, show good will on the part of those who have taken us to the brink of needing to walk the avenues of the proposed austerity measures.
Last summer, as a result of complications following knee replacement surgery, I spent three weeks as an in-patient in the Second Street Rehabilitation Unit. I was able to experience, first-hand, the dedication and expertise of Dr. Reen and his highly skilled staff. Everyone, without exception, gave the utmost in their efforts to help me overcome the problems that were preventing a return of full mobility to my leg.
During my stay I talked to many of the patients on the floor and also observed the noticeable progress being made by those with whom I came into contact. There were patients recovering from strokes, who had apparently entered the unit confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk and having lost most of their ability to speak. By the time I met them, they were able to have a talk to me and walk to their physiotherapy sessions. There were other patients recovering from orthopeadic surgeries and I was able to see their obvious improvement even during the short time I was an in-patient.
As a stroke victim myself I know how important the rehabilitation is. It was 2004 and I was in California when my stroke occurred. Five days later I discharged myself from the hospital and my wife drove us the thousands of miles back to Ontario. We returned to our home, near Cobourg, and I set about my own rehabilitation program. It was a long, arduous process, which needed a great deal of self-discipline. A Rehabilitation Unit, such as the one in Cornwall, is so important for recovering victims who, for whatever reason, would not have the circumstances, or determination, to succeed in their own rehabilitation.
There are, no doubt, many Cornwall residents who, because they have been fortunate enough not to need them, have no knowledge of the services provided by Dr. Reen and his staff. It should be a matter of record that, without the dedication of these professionals, many area folk would have been denied the return to a worthwhile and meaningful life. Besides the obvious gain that this gives to the individuals it must be blatantly clear to all this could also, in the long run, relieve the health system of much of the cost of providing future care.
Our MPP, Jim Brownell, has worked hard in his efforts for our community. We should rally behind him and make our voices heard in demanding the Rehabilitation Unit is not cut. People do have power and we should make sure this wonderful, and necessary, service remains intact.
John E. Milnes – South Stormont
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