St. Joseph's Health Care London takes steps to meet budget plans for 2011/12. Investments also being made to reduce wait times

Jan. 13, 2011

St. Joseph’s Health Care London is beginning to implement some changes to help address funding pressures projected for the 2011/2012 fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2011. 

The budget planning work is not yet complete as current budget planning assumptions may need to be adjusted depending on future funding announcements, negotiated wage increases and any further increases in costs, particularly drugs and utilities.  There are also further savings targets related to program and service transfers from St. Joseph’s to other hospitals set to occur during 2011/2012. A full budget plan will be completed, reviewed and approved by the St. Joseph’s board and then sent to the Southwest Local Health Integration Network for approval.

The steps confirmed this week, however, total $7.1 million. They touch all sites of St. Joseph’s with a primary focus on changes that could be made without reducing patient care volumes in the system.  However, given that hospital annual budgets primarily fund people, there is an impact on staff.

St. Joseph’s President and CEO, Dr. Gillian Kernaghan states, “While this week is a difficult juncture for our staff, physicians and leaders, it is important to do all we can to prepare for the next fiscal year with a balanced budget plan.  This meets our own stewardship responsibilities, as well as provincial legislated requirements.  Our teams will work to ensure we continue to serve as many or more people and that care remains of the highest quality and safety.”

Yesterday, 39 staff members received lay-off notices - 22 in administrative and support areas, seven in nursing roles, and 10 in other clinical roles. These notices were given now to uphold provisions of notice in bargaining unit collective agreements in time for the start of the new fiscal year. The organization, union leaders and staff will now work together to find ways to reduce actual job loss through early retirement offers and attrition.

Ten new jobs are also being created as a result of staffing mix changes in a number of areas.  Of these 10 positions, two are in support departments, one is in nursing, and seven are in other clinical areas.

“No matter how big or small, each change has impacts for people, for service and for our mission.  While these measures are necessary in the short term, St. Joseph’s continues to build a new future, with new roles in care, teaching and research,” says Dr. Kernaghan. 

St. Joseph’s also stepping up to help with current backlogs in the system

St. Joseph’s is also moving to help London’s hospital system deal with long waits or backlogs in care, thanks to a modest surplus the organization is tracking in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2011.  These short term investments total $665,000:

  • At St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1,000 additional endoscopy procedures will be added to address a backlog in wait times.
  • Also at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 90 more operating room hours (50 surgeries) will be added to address current cancer surgery wait times.
  • At Parkwood Hospital four additional beds in the transitional care unit (TCU) have already been opened to help with backlogs in acute care until the end of March, particularly during ‘flu season’.
  • Additional speech language pathology resources will be added to support stroke rehabilitation at Parkwood Hospital until the end of March.

The organization is also looking at ways to use its own funds to further address wait times through added medical equipment.  

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About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario

For more information, please contact:
Nicole Laven, Communication and Public Affairs   
St. Joseph’s Health Care, London
Phone: 519 646-6100 ext. 42679

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