|Board Chair Charles Forret|
The Board of Directors of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has unanimously approved one acute care hospital centrally located as the model to best deliver health care services in the future that ensures safe, high-quality care that is sustainable for future generations. This long-range direction is for the year 2030 and beyond. If the government approves this plan, in approximately 15 years there will be one hospital in Muskoka serving MAHC’s constituents. As we continue moving in this direction through several planning stages in the years ahead, both existing hospital sites will continue to operate and provide our patients with the outstanding care they expect and deserve.
In the next 15 years our model reflects that medicine and technology will be that much more advanced. In addition, the Province of Ontario is transforming the health care system through investments in community health care, services like health hubs and nursing stations, which will change the way hospitals take care of people in the future. We believe the health care environment will be different from a systems perspective as investments continue to shift from acute care to primary care. Change can be difficult, but we need to understand and prepare for this change.
Although I appreciate this future direction revolutionizes today’s two-hospital approach, the Board believes one hospital will give us the best model for a sustainable future. One hospital will protect the viability of services in the future by concentrating patient volumes without duplicating services or costly equipment and technology. One hospital will help us ensure the best care in a stable environment that attracts and retains physicians and sub-specialties, and offers optimal working conditions that help to recruit competent staff. One hospital is the best solution to ensure high-quality hospital care in the most sustainable way, providing the best quality of care with everything we need under one roof with flexibility for growth. A two-site model financially burdens future generations of taxpayers and could conceivably lead to reduced services and less access to care. It is simply not sustainable or consistent with Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care trends.
In pouring over the feedback shared by our community, one of the biggest concerns has been travel distances and access to health care services. The Board takes this concern very seriously. I want to assure you that MAHC is committed to being an active partner in the integration of health services in Muskoka and East Parry Sound, and in participating in the development of transportation initiatives, to find meaningful ways to improve access to care in our community over the next several years. The Board also recognizes that one new hospital centrally located may be further for some to travel to, but believes when you get there, the care will be that much better.
In reaching this very difficult decision, we are optimistic about what the future holds for our mission to deliver best-in-class health care. But we must maintain our focus on the present. Our buildings and equipment continue to age. Fundraising for capital expenditures and programs has never been more critical than it is today. Your continued support will help us deliver on our commitment to provide outstanding patient care today, tomorrow and in the future. On behalf of the Board, I thank you for your involvement in this planning process, for your input, and your support of this future direction.
For more information, please visit our Planning for the Future webpage.