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RMH Auxiliary membership votes to dissolve, Hospital to provide administrative assistance to support continued volunteering

KAWARTHA LAKES: Ross Memorial Hospital Auxiliary members voted unanimously in favour of dissolving the Auxiliary, during a special meeting held at the hospital, on April 11th, 2024.

The RMH Auxiliary was formed in 1904, originally as a Ladies’ Auxiliary. In its modern-day form, it boasts roughly of 125 volunteers, who operate the Reflection’s Café and Gift Shop, the information desk at the main entrance, and support patient care and family members throughout the hospital. They also bestow a bursary to RMH team members, to support advanced educational opportunities, named in honour of former longtime volunteer Pat Angiers. Volunteers will maintain all those roles following the dissolution.

Anne Botond, President of the RMH Auxiliary, presented a detailed overview of some of the many challenges the Auxiliary has faced which precipitated the decision to dissolve.

“This change in governance structure will alleviate administrative pressures and allow volunteers to focus on the part of the role they’re most passionate about – supporting patients and families, team members, and helping raise funds to purchase equipment our hospital and community needs. The RMH board looks forward to a seamless transition that facilitates continued volunteer engagement.” said Anne Botond, President, Ross Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

Ms. Botond noted, the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario (HAAO) has long been a valuable resource the RMH Auxiliary has leaned on, for guidance and professional advice, regarding how to execute the Auxiliary’s constitutional obligations. However, the HAAO disbanded on January 1st, 2019, due to a rapidly declining number of hospital Auxiliaries in the province. Other hospital Auxiliaries have disbanded, including the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Walkerton Hospital and West Parry Sound Health Centre.

In the 2022/23 fiscal year, a new board structure and developed responsibilities for each role on the board were trialed, to attract candidates with talents and professional expertise which could benefit the Auxiliary. Ultimately, those efforts were unsuccessful.

“Volunteers are an integral part of the Ross family. We are proud of our storied Auxiliary history, and feel the best way to celebrate it is to provide the necessary support and resources required for the continuation of a robust volunteer program, at our hospital. Volunteers will remain embedded in the exceptional care our community relies on.” explained Kelly Isfan, President and CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital.

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