TSH and TEGH merger benefits unclear to community

Amalgamating the services of Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) and the Scarborough Hospital (TSH) would’ve affected the Scarborough community. Yet, most of the community has no idea what the merger would mean for them. This is one of my biggest concerns.

TEGH and TSH called off talks of a possible merger this week. According to a third-party report of the alliance, which was commissioned by both hospitals, “the benefits did not outweigh the risks.”

Merger talks: Facts and figures

  • The potential merger would make the combined institution the largest community hospital in Toronto.
  • A merger would also make it the second largest community hospital in Ontario.
  • The operating budget for a merged hospital would be almost $600 million.
  • The amalgamation of the hospitals could save between $22 million and $27 million.

Source: Report of the Third Party Review of the Proposed TSH/TEGH Alliance

According to the report, combining these two hospitals would mean that the talent present at each of the hospitals would be combined, improving the quality of the hospital. However, it would also mean that TSH could possibly lose some services, requiring Scarborough patients to travel to TEGH for certain care.

The possibility of a merger between the two hospitals was first brought up last summer. The potential benefits of this plan include strengthening the quality of health-care services and creating a stronger voice for these hospitals on health care matters of the community.

This is not the first merger TSH has had in the works. In 1998, TSH merged with the Salvation Army’s Scarborough Grace Hospital, which is now called the Birchmount campus. According to the report, this merger was not as beneficial as many were hoping it to be.

The Birchmount location became a lower priority as a result of amalgamation, and they now feel that if THS and TEGH merged, they would become an even lower priority out of the three locations.

As reported in the Toronto Observer, the community has been kept in the dark about the details of this merger. They have no idea what is going on.

However, according to the third-party report, the residents of the community were not the only ones who were unclear about the benefits this merger could provide. The report states:

“The difficulty is that [doctors and] stakeholders were asked to comment on the merger with limited information about the potential benefits or any description of what it might mean for the services they provide and the patients they serve.”

Ultimately, how is anyone supposed to see the benefits of a merger, if it is unclear to everyone what those benefits are?

TSH and TEGH have decided not to merge their services. However, TSH is proceeding in the talk of a merger with another health-care institution. Hopefully this time, TSH will be able to clearly communicate and outline how the merger will put the needs of the patients first.