Letter to Community

Letter to Community

January 23, 2019


Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is Scarborough’s largest health care provider, serving a population of over 650,000 residents.  SHN is made up of our three hospitals − Birchmount, Centenary, and General − and our eight satellite sites.

Our commitment to the community is to provide the very best care to all of our patients and their families.

Recently, there has been news about the services provided at our Birchmount hospital. We would like to clarify some of the information you may have heard.

In December 2016, our three hospitals and satellite sites merged into one health network. Since that time, we have been committed to delivering the very best care for all Scarborough residents. In order to be successful, we have been asking ourselves “what will make us the best at what we do?”

To answer this, we are reviewing all our programs and services to make sure that they are located in the right places and are properly resourced.

Earlier this year, we reviewed the Women’s and Children’s program. Some of the recommendations of the review have been made public, but not all of them. This has resulted in concerns due to incorrect or inaccurate information. We understand the anxiety, fear, and frustration that potential changes create without the proper context.

We have an obligation to build the best health network for all of Scarborough.

So here are the facts.

No. We will not be closing any of our emergency departments as a result of the Women’s and Children’s program review.

No. Birchmount will not close as a result of this review. We are committed to our three hospitals. They will remain full-service hospitals, providing a variety of services, diagnostics, and treatments.

This will remain the case until the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approves the building of our new hospitals.

 Our goal is straightforward: to care for the people of Scarborough by creating centres of excellence that deliver world-class care. In order to do this, we have to reimagine how we deliver care and commit ourselves to providing the services that our communities need the most.

We are currently reviewing all of our programs. We are using data, speaking with our patients, community, and experts in health care to identify the needs surrounding our hospitals. For example, the area around Birchmount has one of the highest populations of elderly in the GTA. As a result, we will be looking at what services that population requires. We will also be looking at the mental health and addiction needs in Scarborough, particularly for youth, as well as the orthopaedic surgery and oncology needs. All this to say, we will not leave Birchmount empty. We need every square foot of space we have to continue providing excellent care to our patients.

The women and children of Scarborough will continue receive safe and high-quality care, no matter which hospital they receive that care at.

This is a commitment we make to you.  We will continue to have both on site services and on call services, include paediatrics and anaesthesia, to support the needs that come through our emergency departments at all three hospitals. We will also utilize all of our hospitals to support one another to provide you with best care in Scarborough.

The Women’s and Children’s program review was led by a team made up of people who know the program best: physicians, midwives, nurses, and patients and families.

Hundreds of individuals and experts from our community, including family doctors, paediatricians, obstetricians, gynaecologists, front line providers, nurses, midwives, mothers, expectant mothers, patients, and members of the community shared their thoughts, ideas, and advice.

A report with recommendations will be going to the Board of Directors on January 24th that will help us develop a world class Women’s and Children’s program. These recommendations are supported by SHN’s Women’s and Children’s program, Senior Leadership Team, and Medical Advisory Committee.

We appreciate that you may have questions about this process, particularly given that some of the recent media coverage has raised worrisome concerns about the proposed changes. We are committed to sharing updates about our ongoing program reviews with you in as timely a manner as possible.

If you have any comments, questions, or feedback please email David Belous, Chief of Communications and Public Engagement at dbelous@shn.ca


Elizabeth Buller
President and CEO

Dr. Dick Zoutman
Chief of Staff