Open letter to the Chesley community from SBGHC’s Board Chair

To the Chesley Community,

On September 9th, 2020, South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) held a virtual Community Information Session using Zoom and Facebook Live to provide an update on the temporary reduction in hours at the Chesley hospital Emergency Department (ED).  This was the third meeting held with the community to answer questions and address concerns since September 2019, when the Chesley ED began operating from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM daily, and closing overnight, due to a shortage of nursing staff.

The main message we wanted to deliver at the virtual meeting in September 2020, and still to this day, is that SBGHC remains committed to returning the Chesley ED to 24/7 operation. 

Our Board of Directors continues to review this issue as a standing agenda item at every one of our meetings, and efforts are ongoing among our Staff and Leadership Team to stabilize nursing staff resources.  However, the challenge we have faced since September 2019 still continues – a need for Registered Nurses with ED experience that are confident in their skills and abilities to safely operate the department during the overnight hours when there are limited staff in the building.

In addition to our ongoing internal efforts to stabilize nursing staff resources, our Leadership Team has continued to advocate for provincial support to address the health care human resource challenges facing small rural EDs.  On December 15th, 2020, our President & CEO, along with the President & CEO of the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, met with the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and the Ministry’s Hospitals Branch Director to provide an update on the reduction in hours in both the Clinton and Chesley EDs.  We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that in addition to our local efforts, we also have tools and resources from the provincial level to assist in our efforts.

We are committed to continuing an open conversation with the Chesley community about this challenge.  We will be scheduling a follow-up virtual Community Information Session in January 2021.

I want to assure you that this important issue remains a top priority, and your patience and understanding is appreciated as we work toward our goal of reopening the Chesley ED to 24/7 service. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me or Michael Barrett directly at 519-370-2400 if you have any questions or concerns.  On behalf of SBGHC’s Board of Directors, we wish you a safe and healthy holiday season.  


John Gilbert

Chair, Board of Directors

c:             Mayor Steve Hammell, Municipality of Arran-Elderslie

                Michael Barrett, President & CEO

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