you know, I have been working with our area MPs and MPPs, as well as joining in
conversations with our County Councillors from Collingwood, Midland, New
Tecumseth along with the Mayors of Orillia, Bracebridge and Huntsville to take
action on what we consider a potential health-care crisis in Simcoe County.
part of this process, Jane Sinclair (General Manager of Health and Emergency
Services for the County) and I shared a private meeting with the Honourable
Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on May 15. He was open to
our suggestions on how to better work together. I pitched a conceptual template
of how the County and Muskoka can play a more dynamic and impactful role in
health care and lend value to some of the hospital and LHIN challenges that
exist. The Minister was intrigued by the opportunity and saw value in what we
can possibly bring to the conversation. The Minister will meet with his staff
to discuss while, at my end, I will seek councils permission to engage our
staff in an official role.
the County, we have a shortfall in provincial long-term care funding for our
four homes of $340,000. Although not required, we passed a motion to implement
strategies that will yield operational cost reductions equivalent to $120,000
annually. Rather than undertake direct nursing and personal care cuts, we
agreed to fund the remaining provincial shortfall of $220,000 from our
reserves. In addition to long-term care, four of our five area hospitals in
Simcoe County face potential funding shortages, impacting both service and
staff under the existing hospital funding model. GBGH faces $5 million in
provincial funding shortages, OSMH announced that they are looking at staff
layoffs and Collingwood General has a 20 years history of deficits.
region is home to 465,000 residents, with projections to grow to 667,000 by
2031. Given the size of Simcoe County and our anticipated growth, we face many
health-care system spending and long-term care funding both require serious
stark concern is that 11 per cent of adults and 16 per cent of children in the
region live in poverty, which further complicates their health-care
opportunities. We also have an aging population and many of our smaller or
rural communities are popular locations for retired seniors. Furthermore, we
are one of Ontario’s most vibrant tourism destinations for families and people
of every age, with more than 9 million visitors to our region each year, many
of whom are travelling to our rural communities for events and attractions and,
from time to time, may require health-care services.
access to quality health-care services even more pertinent is the vast size and
corresponding transportation challenges posed by our region. These challenges
alone should be reason enough to re-think the existing funding model and the
associated impact it’s having on small-town, medium-sized hospitals.
more than ever, access to quality health-care services is a key priority for
small-town rural communities. Hospitals not only impact health care in our
communities, but viability and sustainability of our hospitals affect the
economic growth of rural communities. Municipalities across Ontario have the
opportunity to work together to protect these vital community assets.
County we will continue to advocate for Long Term Care funding and overall system
spending to make these services more sustainable and respectful to our
Simcoe County Warden