Merger between TSH and TEGH still up in the air

Scarborough and East York residents can breathe a small sigh of relief.

“No program is going to shut because of this merger.”

– Dr. John  Wright

Chief executive officer Dr. John Wright of The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) reassured residents a merger between TSH and Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) would not affect programs in either hospital.

“No program is going to shut because of this merger,” he said.

Wright attended a Feb. 8 meeting at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre, which was co-ordinated by the Friends of Scarborough to discuss the possible merger between TSH and TEGH.

Discussions of a merger between the two hospitals have been going on since last year, but no decision has been made as to whether or not it’s going to happen. Much to the alarm of some Scarborough residents, the public has been kept out of the loop.

Talks of a possible merger between Toronto East General Hospital and the Scarborough Hospital have been met with mixed reviews. Local residents expressed their opinions at a town hall meeting hosted by Friends of The Scarborough Hospital on Feb. 8. Zenaira Ali has more.

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“We need someone to talk, to speak out. I think that’s the most important part,” said Becky Ng, who has been a Scarborough resident for the past 30 years. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen until they tell us.”

Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue says the merger hasn’t been given a lot of attention because it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

“This has been very quiet,” Prue said. “I really don’t know what’s being envisioned here. Six months ago there was a warning of a low-key discussion taking place that won’t lead to anything. It [the discussion] is still going.”

According Rob Devitt, CEO of TEGH, the merger is still in its early stages and consultants are still researching to see if it would be a wise decision.

“We’re going through this analytic process to try and get sort of a picture of what it might look like,” he said, hoping to address the advantages and disadvantages of the hospital merger to its shareholders.

One of the results of the merger will be a cut in executive staffing. Wright acknowledged he would not be around for too long.

“I will be gone in a maximum of 18 months, regardless,” Wright said. “I am not going to stand. There has to be one CEO, fewer vice presidents and fewer directors, but I’ll be the first to go.”

Dr. Robert Ting, president of the Medical Staff Association at TSH, said staff at both hospitals are largely against the merger.

“Doctors at Toronto East General are more opposed than we are,” he said. “Eighty-nine per cent of our doctors were opposed. At Toronto East General, 96 per cent were opposed.”

According to Prue, Toronto East General Hospital will hold a meeting in East York later this month.