QUEEN’S PARK – Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller made the following statement in support of the everyone who relies upon the hospitals in Huntsville and Bracebridge:
I rise today to again express my support for the two hospital sites in Huntsville and Bracebridge. This has been a big issue in Muskoka for a number of years, especially since 2015, when the board of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare proposed the idea of a single hospital site.
This week, Huntsville town council was considering a motion to ask the province to dismiss the board and CEO of MAHC. I am pleased the council agreed to put that aside for a month while they meet with the board. I want to thank the board of MAHC for offering to meet with council to answer their questions.
This motion was an unusual step, but Mayor Aitchison and the council are doing their best to represent the views of the community. Unfortunately, concern that the MAHC board has already decided on a single site and is just going through the motions of listening to the public has the mayors of Huntsville and Bracebridge and the communities frustrated.
To address these concerns, I encourage the board of MAHC to be completely open with council and release as much information as possible to the public.
I don’t want to put all the blame on Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. MAHC is dealing with significant funding challenges. For some reason, MAHC did not receive its fair share of recent increases in hospital funding. While the government announced a 4.6% increase across Ontario, MAHC only received a 1.4% increase, not enough to keep up with salary increases required by collective agreements signed by the province or increased energy costs.
I call upon the province to increase funding to MAHC in order to ensure two fully operational hospital sites can be maintained.