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Board of Health Approves Closure of Brighton Health Unit Office

Citing financial constraints, the local Health Unit will be closing its office in Brighton effective June 30, 2016.

The decision was made at today’s Board of Health meeting for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit after Board members approved a senior staff recommendation to close the office. Health Unit staff will continue to offer programs and services in the Brighton community, and a drop off location for water bottles and tick samples will be set up for Brighton residents.

“Closing an office is never an easy decision, but given the financial challenges the Health Unit is facing now, and in the coming years, we need to make some tough decisions,” says Mark Lovshin, Board of Health Chair for the HKPR District Health Unit.

Closing the office will save the Health Unit approximately $115,000. Staff currently working in the Brighton office will have work space in Health Unit’s Port Hope office, however they will be able to utilize free space in the Brighton community to reduce staff travel costs and time, to conduct their work. The Health Unit will continue to offer programs in Brighton, thanks to the support of community partners like the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board at East Northumberland Secondary School, which has rental space available in its school to hold classes and other group sessions.

In the fall, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced a zero per cent funding increase for 2015 and the foreseeable future for the majority of health units in the province, including HKPR. The Health Unit currently receives approximately 75 per cent of its funding from the province, and 25 per cent from the three funding municipalities it serves (Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes). At last month’s meeting, Board of Health members approved the Health Unit’s 2016 budget, which included a 2.5 per cent increase to the assessment for the three funding municipalities and a request for a 2.5 per cent increase in funding from the province.

As a result of no increase in funding from the province, HKPR has undertaken a review of all expenditures in an effort to reduce costs. Closing the Brighton office is one of many cost-saving initiatives implemented. Other initiatives include conducting technology-enabled meetings to reduce staff travel, cutting printing costs and reducing cell phone costs.

“We know the province implemented a zero per cent funding increase for 2015 and the foreseeable future, but we asked for the increase in funding to make a point that operating costs continue to escalate and we would need that level of funding from the province to support our operations,” Lovshin says.

With costs continuing to escalate in the coming years, the Health Unit has had to make some difficult decisions, like that of closing the Brighton office, rather than cutting staff.

“At the end of the day, the strength of our Health Unit is our staff,” Lovshin says. “They are the people who will continue to provide the wide variety of public health programs and services to our residents and communities.”

Brighton Mayor Mark Walas says he understands the circumstances that have led the Board of Health to decide to close the Brighton office, but is pleased by the assurance that current public health programs and services will be maintained in East Northumberland.

“I have always appreciated the working relationship the Municipality of Brighton has had with the Health Unit,” Mayor Walas says, “and we will ensure that the Municipality works with the Health Unit to support programming as staff transition out of the Municipal Office in Brighton.”

The Health Unit will hold a public information session in the future with residents of the Brighton area to provide additional details on how public health programs and services will continue to be provided.

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For media inquiries, contact: 

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or

Mary Catherine Masciangelo, Director, Corporate Services, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100

 

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# Anonymous
Thursday, March 31, 2016 3:51 PM
Meeting of the Minds

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