Mayor Aitchison and Mayor Smith applaud MAHC board decision on hospitals

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Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison and Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith are “pleased” that the MAHC Board has supported the recommendation of its Capital Plan Development Task Force for two acute-care hospitals for the region.

On August 8, 2018, the Capital Plan Development Task Force established by the Muskoka Algonquin Health Care (MAHC) Board of Directors recommended a Two Acute Site model as the preferred model for the future delivery of acute care hospital services for Muskoka and the entire MAHC catchment area.

The MAHC Board has confirmed its support for the Task Force’s recommendation.  This model recommended supports the continued delivery of a full range of emergency, inpatient and surgical services at both the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge and the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.

Over the past year, Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison and Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith and have actively represented the municipalities in South and North Muskoka as members of the Task Force. The Towns of Huntsville and Bracebridge have, for several years, strongly advocated locally, regionally and provincially for the continued delivery of acute-care services based on the Two-Site model.

It was in September of 2015 that Mayor Graydon Smith, Mayor Scott Aitchison strongly objected to the August 5, 2015 Pre-Capital Submission made by MAHC to the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (NSM-LHIN).  The MAHC submission recommended having one centrally-located acute care hospital as the model for long-term hospital services for the area covered by MAHC.

In 2015, the municipalities outlined a comprehensive series of concerns regarding MAHC’s Pre-Capital Submission.  The issues raised by the municipalities were thoroughly considered by the capital planning task force.  Mayor Smith and Mayor Aitchison have strongly supported a Two-Site Model during Task Force deliberations and they applaud the Board’s endorsement of that model today.

“Huntsville, Bracebridge and the other municipalities in Muskoka and East Parry Sound have shown real leadership in addressing hospital planning issues for this region,” said Mayor Aitchison.  “We are pleased that the concerns expressed by the municipalities have been recognized and that the MAHC Board has endorsed a model that addresses local concerns.”

“The maintenance of acute care services is vital to the long-term sustainability of both Bracebridge and Huntsville and is crucial for the provision of adequate health care services for the residents and visitors in Muskoka” said Mayor Smith.  “We are pleased that the MAHC Board has responded to municipal input and we look forward to supporting the Board’s decision when it is brought forward to the NSM-LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.”

The Mayors of Bracebridge and Huntsville hope to meet with the Minister of Health and Long-term Care at the upcoming Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference to continue their advocacy on behalf of the people of Muskoka and East Parry Sound.

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