North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health is weighing in on proposed cuts.

Dr. Jim Chirico says the Progressive Conservative government’s proposal to slash the province’s health units from 35 to 10 “will have a significant short and long-term impact on the health of those in our communities.”

The proposal was included in last week’s budget, Doug Ford’s first as premier. The cuts are supposed to save the province $200 million.

Dr. Chirico says, however, “with the health care system transformation in motion, public health, in partnership with government, primary care, and municipalities, is well positioned to improve health outcomes for all.”

He says the health unit is optimistic that the government will provide more details and dialogue on the proposed changes, calling it “critical” that public health professionals be involved in the process to end “hallway medicine.”

“The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is committed to working with the government to find solutions, efficiencies, and spend health care dollars effectively in order to reduce the future financial burden on the acute health care system,” adds Dr. Chirico.

He says that improving health care access and ending hallway medicine is an important vision “we all share”, but one that will never be achieved unless the reasons people get sick in the first place are addressed. Dr. Chirico believes investing in preventative public health programs and services and continuing work with community partners to deal with local needs is critical to that.