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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Health Unit urges province to keep Simcoe Muskoka together

Midhurst | by Ian MacLennan  

Health unit board says proposal would see Muskoka join a health entity that covers 400,000 square kilometres.

Breaking up is hard to do and it's not what the Board of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit wants to see happen.

The board is asking Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot to keep the full Simcoe-Muskoka territory when it joins with York Region to form a new public health entity next April.

Dr Charles Gardner says the board believes the division of Muskoka and Simcoe operations will disrupt and undermine the delivery of public health programs in Muskoka.

Gardner says the proposed geographic area that would include Muskoka is more than 400,000 square kilometres, and he says providing public health services to such a large and low density area will be extremely challenging.

Under the proposed boundary changes,  the Simocoe County portion of the health unit will join York Region,  while Muskoka would become part of a new health entity that will also serve Sudbury, North Bay, Parry Sound, Algoma, Porcupine, Timskaming, a part of Renfrew, an area that extends to James Bay.

The province announced in its April budget it intended to cut the number of public health units to 10 from 35.


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