98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth Health Units Merging

Regional | by Claire McCormack  

The Province has directed the amalgamation of four local health units.

The Province has directed the Grey Bruce Health Unit to merge with the Perth District and Huron County Health Units.

Public Health Grey Bruce Media Relations Coordinator Drew Ferguson says the government announced widespread changes to health units late Friday (May 10th).

In its 2019 budget the Ontario Government said it would find savings by reducing health care administration through the province.

By April 1st, 2020 there is to be a new, autonomous board of health for a so-called 'regional health entity.'

Ferguson says the new arrangement will cover an area from Blue Mountains, north to Tobermory down the Bruce Peninsula, along Lake Huron to Lambton and east to Punkydoodles Corners on the edge of Wellington County.

"It's predominantly rural, with three small urban centres of Goderich, Stratford and Owen Sound," says Ferguson noting the Saugeen Ojibway Nation is included.

"It's actually one of the smaller of the new regional entities. The only smaller ones are northern ones in terms of population," says Ferguson.

He notes, there's some one-time funding available for the transition, which Huron and Perth had already been directed to do by the previous government.  

A Public Health Grey Bruce media release explains, the ongoing funding for the new health entity will change from the previous 75 per cent provincially funded and 25 per cent municipally funded, to a 70 provincial and 30 per cent municipal arrangement.

Ferguson says the restructuring is subject to legislative change and adds there will be consultation over the coming months.

As for how many jobs could be lost through the merging of health units, Ferguson says it's unclear, "There's been really no details identified at all. The Ministry (of Health and Long Term Care) has said that core programming will continue, so that's the frontline delivery service."  

He says, "We'll have to manage this merger very carefully, with the goal of continuing to provide excellent public health programs and services across all four counties."

Ferguson notes, a bill on the matter hasn't yet been passed.

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