Peterborough Public Health braces for deep cuts to funding

Peterborough Public Health could be staring at a $612,000 shortfall from the province as it cuts $200 million across the province.

Peterborough’s medical officer of health will be speaking with provincial officials about expected funding shortfalls.

Dr. Rosana Salvaterra knows it could be $612,000 less than expected due to government cutbacks.

Officials say such a reduction could have a major impact on local health services.

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“We’re all in favour of modernizing our system and finding efficiencies but what we’re really asking for is more information about what the plan is and the opportunity for consultation,” said Larry Stinson, director of operations for Peterborough Public Health.

Then there’s the provincial government’s plan to chop the number of health units to 10 from 35.

“The concern is going to be you know we’re going to be paying more but having less say. If this becomes a huge health unit area in a number of different counties, we’re not going to have many representatives there,” said County Warden J. Murray Jones.

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These cuts are part of the province’s overall plan to reduce public health spending in Ontario by $200 million.

And if local municipalities have to make up any differences to keep services, that could translate into higher taxes.

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That, says Stinson, is worrisome.

“Whether it’s about safe water, whether about chronic disease prevention — these things are what keeps our community healthy. If we want to achieve the goals that the government is asking for around reducing hallway medicine, public health interventions are necessary,” he said.