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Lawyer For Minden Matters Group Says Injunction Not Possible To Stop Impending ED Closure

KAWARTHA LAKES-A lawyer hired by Minden Matters to look into the possibility of an injunction to delay the closure of the Minden ED says it is not possible.

With just hours to go before the planned shuttering of the Minden Emergency Department, Jayson Schwartze notified the group that litigators who looked at the case thought no judge would grant an injunction or judicial review for two main reasons. The hospital is not a stand-alone hospital. Minden Hills and Haliburton are one hospital together with two separate campuses.

“In other words, it’s like a business doing internal consolidation and there is no legal case law that would support an injunction,” said Schwartz.

The second reason is the way Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS)works.

“Even though we (Minden) were staffed until September, by advising the doctors they had no jobs in Linden Hills after June 1, the Doctors took jobs elsewhere and we could not restaff for the summer”

HHHS announced in April that it would be closing the Minden Emergency Department on June 1, citing staffing shortages as the main reason. Read more here:https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/04/28/physicians-working-at-minden-er-have-not-yet-agreed-to-move-to-haliburton-after-closure/

Many residents questioned that as residents say the Minden ED had staff fully scheduled until September and Haliburton was left with a number of open shifts. President and CEO Carolyn Plummer admitted to Kawartha 411 News that none of the doctors working in Minden had yet agreed to move to Haliburton.

Schwartz says the group could still work toward reopening the Minden ED in September and says he’s been advised by the Chief Medical Officer that they could have staff back by then.

“We certainly have nowhere to go for June 1 but we may have a case to proceed for relief to force the re-opening for the fall,” said Schwartz. “A lot will depend on how HHHS manages the situation in Haliburton. Has this unilateral decision, made without input from the stakeholders created a situation where people will suffer, or have they done it correctly after a few organisational challenges properly prepared? The proof will be in the pudding”

The group raised over $85,000 to launch a legal challenge. Schwartz says they have a record of everyone who donated, how much they donated and how to reach them. $53,355 has been deposited into the Save Minden ED Emergency Trust with the balance not yet deposited. Officials will start cancelling transfers as they will not deposit the money.

Schwarts says residents now have three options to consider.

  1. Schwarts has requested that the Federal government look into whether there has been a breach of the Canada Health Act on behalf of residents who cannot get to Haliburton due to financial, physical mental or other constraints and ask a judge to re-open the Ed.
  2. Use the money to try to change the way HHHS operates.
  3. Refund the money to everyone.

Residents have picketed in front of MPP Laurie Scott’s office in Lindsay, held rallies at the Minden Fairgrounds and lobbied the provincial health minister. In a last-ditch effort to keep the ED open residents and business owners headed to Queens Park on Tuesday for a news conference.

Mark Dracup the owner of the Rockcliffe says the closure will mean many people will have to travel almost an hour to get to a hospital.

“It’s not only Haliburton, It’s Kawartha and the surrounding area, and that’s in good weather,” Dracup said.

Residents will be holding a candlelight vigil for the Minden ED tonight at 10 pm at the Minden helipad. That’s just two hours before the doors will close, seemingly for good.

Below are all of the stories we have done on this issue.

https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/04/20/minden-emergency-department-and-in-patient-services-to-close-as-of-june-1-2023/

https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/04/28/physicians-working-at-minden-er-have-not-yet-agreed-to-move-to-haliburton-after-closure/

https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/05/16/hospital-officials-release-plan-for-minden-ed-closure/

https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/04/25/residents-of-minden-area-vow-to-fight-to-keep-emergency-department-open-video/

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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