Scarborough Hospital, Rouge Valley Health boards vote to merge

Aging population, funding concerns prompt plan to join

Board members of The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) voted Nov. 12 to proceed with the plan to merge TSH with the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS).

A growing, aging population and funding challenges have been named as reasons for the planned merger, which would roll out over the next three years.

“Today’s health care system must now prepare for the demographic shifts that will double the number of seniors living in Ontario over the next 20 years,” said Robert Biron, TSH president and CEO.

The RVHS board of directors also voted for the merger plan at a separate meeting on Nov. 12.

In March, the Central East Local Health Integration Network board passed a motion calling for the merger with the goals of providing easy access to care and efficient use of hospital resources.

“The focus was and continues to be to ensure the long-term quality and safety of health care provided to the patients and to the community of Scarborough,” TSH board member Steve Smith said. “There’s been an awful lot of work that’s been done by the medical directors and senior officers, so this decision is not taken lightly.”

Ontario’s hospital system is undergoing a shift from a focus on acute care services to a greater focus on health care and chronic disease prevention and management, Biron said.

“In doing so, the government funding is being shifted from the hospital sector to the community sector,” he said.

The planned merger isn’t without opposition, but TSH patient Robyn Beason welcomes the move.

“I think the hospitals joining together would be a wonderful idea because it would be more accessible to patients, and we would see more improvement when it comes to health care before and after a visit to the hospital,” Beason said.