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Residents protesting closure of Minden emergency department


It was a tense environment at the Haliburton County Council meeting Tuesday morning as Haliburton Highlands Health Services CEO Carolyn Plummer presented the consolidation plan of the two emergency departments in the county.

Plummer says staffing shortages and the global healthcare crisis are the reason for the closure of the Minden emergency department.

"It just wasn't sustainable anymore. We've fought long and hard to keep both sites open, but we've reached a point where we're just not able to do that on a consistent basis anymore. I do feel confident that this is the right decision," says Plummer.

However, members of the council disagree.

"I have no trust in the board, and I feel that they should resign," says Minden Hills Mayor Bob Carter.

Carter says there was no discussion with council, emergency department staff or members of the community before the decision was made.

"To make this type of a decision and then for the board to agree to it without even asking 'hey, where's the plan? Have you consulted with people, have you talked to people?' I mean, that's totally irresponsible," says Carter.

Dr. Bruno Helt, who's been a doctor in the emergency department for 27 years and is the former emergency department chief, says this decision came as a jarring shock.

"This decision to close the Minden hospital at this time and in this way is wrong," says Helt. "I think it could've been made after the summer with physician and community input. More than anything, it needed community input," he added.

Helt says the hospital did have enough staff to stay open until at least September.

"The board really is going to be spending more money and they're going to be getting less services, and they're going to be at an increased risk of closure this summer compared to other summers," says Helt.

Another concern is scheduling for the summer months, with many shifts at the Haliburton hospital still needing to be filled.

"The schedule that was put out today is only until the end of June. So they have nothing for July, August and September which are the busiest months," says Helt.

Meanwhile, Minden residents are still feeling incredibly frustrated with the closure.

"Carolyn Plummer today has basically said people are going to die with my plan," says resident Patrick Porzuczek. "I don't understand how morally as a person, we're supposed to trust our healthcare to give the answers she gave today. There is absolutely no plan."

As of June 1st the doors to the Minden Hospital will officially be closed. However, community members say they will only stop fighting once the decision is reversed. Top Stories

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