Link to July 22/24 CBC morning show, re: Bruce Power funding

Look for July 22/24 morning show

“SBGHC proposes crews not take mental health cases to Durham ER after 3 p.m.”

Map of closed ERs

Letter to editor – Owen Sound Current

Links to testimonial videos

CFOS Open Line – June 28/24

Link to Owen Sound Sun Times Article re: SBGHC Annual Meeting- June 27/24

Link to Minden newspaper article

Community Update:

The Save the Durham Hospital Committee is a group of volunteers who are working very hard with, and on behalf of the community. This group has been working both in the public eye and behind the scenes to save our Durham Hospital.  
On April 24, 2024, South Bruce Grey Health Centre announced that they would be removing the inpatient beds, therefore closing the in-patient unit at the Durham Hospital on June 3. Our committee immediately sprang into action in response to this decision.  
In an effort to keep the community informed on the actions of our committee, we have decided to share all of the items the committee has addressed. During the last six weeks the committee has completed the following:
– our media team has created a very detailed media package including lots of really great information about our community and our Hospital. This package and many press releases have been shared with various media outlets both locally and provincially
– our team has approached seasonal community members at campgrounds with petitions and information on how to speak out against the cuts
– our provincial government action committee has sent information packages to 7 different Ministries who will be impacted by these changes
– We wrote a petition and collected many signatures
– our community participated in a trip to legislature on May 15th, where they participated in a press conference and had our petition read into the House of Commons. They also delivered over 400 letters to each Doug Ford and Sylvia Jones.
– our group participate in the Ontario Health Coalition rally in Toronto on May 30
– members of our group filed with the Ethics Commission and Ombudsman
– we presented to the Grey Bruce Labour council
– we have published articles that were written by committee members
– we have created a website (
– within less than two weeks of the announcement we planned and hosted a town meeting on May 7  
– on May 21st, we hosted a March from the arena, followed by a vigil at the Hospital  
– on May 31st and June 1st, we held a protest downtown Durham
– we have invested in and distributed signage throughout our community and beyond
– we collected many statements of impact
– we continue to run email, letter and phone call campaign to members of the SBGHC management team, the Board and the Provincial Government
Although the beds are gone, the fight is not over! We deserve access to Health Care in our community and we will continue to fight for this. We thank the community for your support, and we encourage you to continue to support the fight to save the Durham Hospital. Please continue to watch our Facebook page and follow our website for upcoming events. Please also continue to call and email those responsible for this decision.  

Another intriguing article:

Is the stand-alone Durham ER even feasible?Save the Durham Hospital

South Bruce Grey Health Centre has reduced ER hours to 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily at the Durham Hospital. They are now about to close the inpatient unit, leaving Durham Hospital as a stand-alone ER.

There are several logistical problems for a stand-alone, part-time ER.

1) What happens to patients still resident when the ER closes?

2) What happens to patients suffering mental health issues? The “Safe” room is in the inpatient area and is so either unavailable or would require additional staffing.

3) Who rides with urgent and emergent patients being transferred out of the ER? If the ER is staffed by two RNs, neither can leave the building. Either additional staff is required at the Durham ER, or the transport will have to travel to the destination to pick up a medical attendant before then travelling to the Durham ER to pick up the patient.

A far more serious problem is finding doctors willing to work in a stand-alone ER.

Dr. Mary Pillisch, who works some shifts in the Durham ER, at a “Save the Durham Hospital” rally on May 7th identified the fatal flaw in the plan for a stand-alone ER. She indicated that 70% of Durham ER on-call shifts are covered by locum doctors. At least four locums, however, have patient safety concerns due to the limited staff and equipment available in a stand-alone ER, and are not committing to any future work beyond what they have already agreed to. At 28:40 minutes of the May 14th SBGHC webinar, Nancy Shaw said 62% of ER shifts are covered by locums and, surprisingly, that the SBGHC had only begun consulting with the Durham Physician Group about how to cover those shifts. The ER cannot open without a doctor, and it seems there is no plan to replace the locums who will not return due to safety concerns. Informal communications suggest the existing locum contracts end during the summer.

It seems SBGHC has not planned how a stand-alone, part-time ER can function, which may indicate there was never an intention to keep it open.

Whether planned or not, the Durham ER, – and with it the entire Durham Hospital – will not survive the summer.

Will SBGHC work with the Durham RNs to solve the RN shortage there?

By Save the Durham Hospital

On April 24th, the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) announced that all 10 inpatient beds at the Durham Hospital would be moved to the Kincardine and Walkerton hospitals. SBGHC eventually attributed the move to a shortage of nurses at the hospital that would be worsened by the coming holiday season.
In response, the Registered Nurses (RNs) at the Durham Hospital created an RN schedule that covered all the shifts for the summer, including vacations. 
The RNs received no feedback from SBGHC until a SBGHC webinar on May 14th. The webinar featured SBGHC management reading prepared responses to questions previously submitted by the public. At 24:00 minutes into the webinar, Mandy Dobson, Director of Clinical Support and Ambulatory Care Services, noted that two submissions had asked about the RNs’ schedule, and stated “our staffing is so slim that, with this schedule there wasn’t the built-in redundancy to be able to cope with the short notice sick calls which has been a growing risk that we’ve seen. Particularly a big risk for our inpatients where the patients are there and there’s obviously no option of closing if we don’t have staff available.”
This statement begs a few questions:
1) What level of redundancy is required?
2) Would the Durham inpatient beds stay in Durham if the RNs could provide that level of redundancy?
3) Is that level of redundancy currently available at all SBGHC hospitals?
4) Why would sick calls now lead to closure of the inpatient unit rather than the ER?
5) Why didn’t the 2021 reduction of scheduled ER hours at the Walkerton ER require the closure of any inpatient beds?
South Bruce Grey Health Centre management has not returned calls or emails from local and regional stakeholders and seems to be uninterested in any collaboration. But the RNs themselves have offered a practical solution to the purported RN shortage. Surely SBGHC must work with the RNs or explain their real motives for moving the Durham Hospital inpatient beds to Kincardine and Walkerton.

What happened to SBGHC’s five-year plan?

By Save the Durham Hospital

On February 24th, the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) announced that, beginning on March 10th, the ER at the Durham Hospital would be closed for 14 hours every night from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. The reduced service would alleviate the shortage of Registered Nurses at the Durham Hospital.

On April 24th, 2024, SBGHC announced that, five weeks later, on June 3rd, all 10 inpatient beds at the Durham Hospital would be removed. Five beds would go to each of the Kincardine and Walkerton hospitals. Moving the beds would, again, alleviate the shortage of Registered Nurses at the Durham Hospital.

SBGHC has a five-year strategic plan ( which came into effect in June 2021. The document describes:

“Our Vision: Together, enriching health care in our communities”

Restricting the ER hours and moving the inpatient beds does indeed enrich health care in southern Bruce County. But it also greatly impoverishes health care in southern Grey County. And not just in the immediate Durham area: residents without family doctors or with non-urgent health issues are opting to visit the Hanover, Markdale or Mount Forest ERs, leading to longer wait times at those locations.

“Our Mission: We provide patient-centred care to our communities through a collaborative and quality driven culture, inspiring pride in our team and in our care”

The mission statement doesn’t specify with whom they intend to be collaborative. A list of stakeholders should include the Durham doctors, the Durham nurses, the remainder of the Durham staff, West Grey Council, Grey County Council, Hanover Hospital, Rockwood Terrace Long-term Care, the Durham Hospital Foundation, the local EMT providers and the West Grey Police.

None were involved in the decisions to restrict the ER hours or to subsequently move the inpatient beds. Some learned of the changes hours before the announcements, others found out through the media.

Request for consultation with SBGHC by the above contacts have been ignored or dismissed. In their April 24th press release SBGHC promises “… community engagement sessions in the coming months to facilitate open dialog and collaboration…,” long after the June 3rd date when the Durham Hospital staff, equipment and funding will have moved to the other SBGHC hospitals.

It is not known if SBGHC did reach out to the Ontario Ministry of Health, Kincardine City Council, Brocton Council or Bruce County Council.

The remainder of the strategic plan is the typical public relations bafflegab, most of which rings false in the current context. Especially the final bullet point: “Pursuing a culture of quality, problem-solving and innovation.”


if you or anyone you know has a personal story that truly shows what the Durham hospital means to you, please submit an email to: [email protected] or [email protected] before tomorrow.

We have media who want to hear from you!

Link to May 24/24 Owen Sound Sun Times article

Opinion piece by Bill Trbovich

If you have a personal story that truly show what the Durham hospital means to you, please submit an email to: [email protected]

Link to video of May 21/24 community support walk

Video courtesy of Sills Photography

Courtesy of Marathon of History

Link to Queen’s Park Question Period, May 15/24

Start around 13:25

Visit to Queen’s Park

Many dedicated Save the Durham Hospital committee members and a bus load of local residents and Community Supporters had a successful trip to Queen’s Park today. With the assistance of Adil Shamji Liberal MPP, France Gelinas NDP MPP, both who are Critics of Health, and Rick Byers Conservative MPP (Grey-Bruce), the Conservative government was questioned about the closure of the Durham Hospital inpatient unit with remarks to be directed to Minister of Health Sylvia Jones.

The committee presented petitions with over 3700 signatures.

Petitions were supported and entered into the record by MPP Adil Shamji and MPP France Gelinas. Also, acknowledged and signed by MPP Rick Byers.

The community letters and impact statements were delivered to the Premier Doug Ford’s office. Thank you to all those who made a difference today!

Owen Sound Sun Times, news article

Save the Durham Hospital