QUEEN’S PARK – Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka today introduced a motion calling upon the Wynne government to immediately review the funding formula for hospitals in order to address the chronic underfunding of small and medium sized hospitals.
“This has been an issue for a number of years but when I saw the discrepancy between the government announcement of a 4.6% increase for hospitals and the 1% and 1.4% increases that our hospitals in Parry Sound-Muskoka received, I knew something needed to change,” said Miller.
West Parry Sound Health Centre has received only a 1% increase and Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare received 1.4% while some hospitals are getting much more. For example, Mackenzie Health Richmond Hill is getting an 11.5% increase in funding.
In a response during Question Period on April 10 the Minister of Health and Long-term Care told Miller that growing communities are receiving more funding.
“But having a fully operational hospital is necessary in order to grow a community because neither businesses nor families want to move somewhere that doesn’t have access to hospital services,” said Miller. “And in our communities much of the growth is from retirees who really need easy access to a hospital with acute care.”
The underfunding of medium sized hospitals is one of the factors in Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s considerations about the future of the Huntsville District Memorial and South Muskoka Memorial Hospitals according to the MAHC presentation to Huntsville Town Council on Monday.
“Hospital funding had been virtually frozen for five years while hospital expenses like hydro costs and staff salaries – things the provincial government controls – have been going up,” said Miller. “This isn’t just about hospitals in Parry Sound-Muskoka, small and medium sized hospitals across rural and small town Ontario are being short changed.”