Funds allow non-urgent patient transfer service to continue: DSB

ESPANOLA—The Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board (DSB), along with its partners the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) and the Espanola Regional Hospital, have received funding to extend its very successful non-urgent patient ambulance transfer service pilot project.

“We have received word that additional funding is being provided for the non-urgent transportation pilot project; seed funding to continue the program through March 31, 2014,” said Derek Graham, executive director of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC), last Thursday. “Right now, along with our partners, we are working with the North East Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN) to establish a plan for sustainability of this service.”

“Yes, we have received confirmation funding will be provided so that the program can continue until March 31, 2014,” said Fern Dominelli, CAO of the DSB. “We received a little less than we had wanted, but it is very good news. The project will continue until the end of March.”

Mr. Graham said the additional funds through the LHIN for the program will flow through the Espanola Regional Hospital.

“The LHIN has hired a consultant and we are hoping to have a report in January or February, looking at how to resolve the issue long-term (to continue the program on a permanent basis),” said Mr. Dominelli.

As reported in the December 6 edition of the Recorder, over the first six months of the pilot project it was shown to have been a huge success. Mr. Dominelli was quoted as saying “the hospitals and patients are very happy with the project.”

Since March of this year patients requiring a medical transfer from the Espanola or Manitoulin hospitals to Health Sciences North in Sudbury have been able to take advantage of an alternative transportation means,” a DSB release reported. “Prior to March the most common way to get to your appointment in Sudbury was to take an ambulance.”

“Under the pilot project funded by the North East LHIN, three organizations came together to provide a service with the best interests of the patient in mind. Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Manitoulin Health Centre and the Manitoulin Sudbury DSB developed a model of alternative transportation for patients requiring movement from one medical facility to another,” the release notes.

“It is great to see a project established for the good of the patient, but to do so in a cost effective and efficient manner is what makes this project an overwhelming success,” said DSB board chair Les Gamble. “Results of the patient and hospital staff surveys confirm the project’s success.”

During the first six months of the project, the patient transportation service has moved 472 patients over the course of 1,218 hours. That is 1,218 hours of ambulance service brought back into the communities.

Tom Sasvari