Aylmer Co-op Santé
Health Co-op’s annual meeting will be a hot one
Aylmer Health Co-op’s board of directors admits it has run its course. Unless a saviour comes along, the annual general assembly (AGA) for all members, April 27 at 7:30 pm, Aylmer’s Knights of Columbus Hall, could easily be the co-op’s last.
“The space is empty and all the tenants had left by the end of 2015. We received no responses in our campaign to recruit new doctors. The AGA will be the time for members to discuss the co-op’s future and whether there’s a point of going on, and if there is, who’s going to do it,” said Valerie Dufour, Co-op board president.
“To survive means new people will be taking over operations and will establish a new healthcare model to help the community, not the current model. The co-op did (eventually) lose its doctors, but it partly sponsored their presence here in the first place because the co-op has always offset the clinic’s operating deficits. GMFs and their physician-members are funded to cover nurses, technology, and administrative support. Our model was simply no longer relevant with the current incentives to operate differently,” explained Dufour.
“We had lost our capacity to offer first-line service. There were no longer any opportunities for patients to call and be seen quickly. Between 2014 and now we went from 22% of doctor time for walk-ins to 7%. We wanted to maintain these hours because providing that service for the community mattered to us. However, with the changes patients without a doctor were neglected.”
Many members have lost hope, the board president is strongly encouraging all members to attend the coming AGA.
“The co-op has played an important role in the community for over a decade, but interest is dwindling. We are close to the end,” she told the Bulletin.
Negotiations with the Appletree Medical Group had provided some hope, but negotiations ultimately flatlined with the Ontario-based company.
“Appletree’s business model is incompatible with the co-operative principles, and we simply did not have the resources or the time necessary to do the technology interface. We negotiated during six months with Appletree and will explain it at the AGA. We will also talk about the building's future,” added Dufour.
With some board members there from the beginning, the probable final AGA will certainly be an emotional one.