Many details unknown for health care changes in province

By Kaitlyn Clark

The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—The Ontario government recently announced massive changes to healthcare in the province, but the details for most of these changes are still unknown.

Two of these changes include consolidating both ambulance services and public health units into a small number of centres covering larger areas. There are currently 59 ambulance services and 35 public health units.

Hayley Chazan, Press Secretary for Minister of Health Christine Elliott, said in a statement to The Press, “Our government is working directly alongside our health care partners and municipalities as we modernize Ontario’s public health units and emergency health services. This collaboration is ongoing and, as such, it is too early to discuss outcomes. Formal consultations will be launched shortly. We expect our modernization plan to result in a more streamlined system that will allow us to reinvest back-office savings into frontline care, where it will do the most good for Ontarians.”

Chazan said of the health units: “Our government has every expectation that public health units will continue to be properly funded as we empower municipalities to have a stronger role in the delivery of public health.”

Matt Terry, Director of Corporate Communications for Norfolk County, which operates the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit, said they do not know exactly what these changes will mean as they are awaiting further details from the Ministry, but “Haldimand Norfolk is already an example of a regionalized model with two municipalities sharing one health unit. We have the skills for this format and are an efficient example…. We want to make sure the voices of people in Norfolk and Haldimand will be represented, whatever it (the new system) is going to look like.”

In regards to ambulance centres, Chazan said, “Our government is building a more integrated and efficient dispatch and communication service delivery system that will better meet the needs of Ontario’s communities and shorten wait times for emergency services. No frontline paramedic will lose their job as a result of consolidation. Just the opposite: we are empowering frontline paramedics to improve the already great service they provide in communities each and every day.”

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