The future of a new $20 million health unit in North Bay may be up in the air.
The Ford government has proposed restructuring public health which could see the province downsize from 35 health units in the province to only 10.
“With a targeted cost savings of $200 million this will have a significant short and long-term impact on the health of those in our communities,” stated Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical officer of Health, in a release on Tuesday.
The new downtown location only opened last May. Officials at the time were beaming with enthusiasm about the new facility.
“The new space will allow us to improve our service delivery to our clients in North Bay, as well as to those in the surrounding communities in our districts,” said Chirico in a release last May.
See related: New Downtown Health Unit opens
Chirico hopes to get more information about the potential changes soon.
“With the health care system transformation in motion, public health, in partnership with government, primary care, and municipalities, is well positioned to improve health outcomes for all,” he stated.
“We are optimistic that more details and dialogue will be forthcoming from the government. It is critical that public health unit professionals be part of the conversation and decision-making process to achieve the mandate of ending “hallway medicine” and improving the health of those in our communities.
Chirico adds that the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is committed to working with the government to find solutions, efficiencies, and spend health care dollars effectively in order to reduce the future financial burden on the acute health care system.
“This must be carefully planned with input from all stakeholders,” he said.
“Improving access to health care services and ending ‘hallway medicine’ is an important vision we all share but will never be achieved unless we address why people are getting sick in the first place. Investments in preventative public health programs and services and continued work with our community partners to address local health care needs and underlying causes of ill health together is critical. Only then can we build a sustainable health care system and improve the health of those in our communities.”
BayToday.ca had reached out to Chirico for an interview earlier in the week in relation to the potential restructuring but did not get a reply.