"CMOH Letter to MPS Residents Final"
Ministry of Health Ministère de la Santé and Long-Term Care et des Soins de longue durée Chief Medical Officer of Health and Médecin hygiéniste en chef et Assistant Deputy Minister Sous-ministre adjoint Public Health Division Division de la santé publique 11th Floor, Hepburn Block Édifice Hepburn, 11 étage Queen’s Park Queen’s Park Toronto ON M7A 1R3 Toronto (ON) M7A 1R3 Telephone: (416) 212-3831 Téléphone: (416) 212-3831 Facsimile: (416) 325-8412 Télécopieur: (416) 325-8412 March 9, 2005 To: The permanent and seasonal residents of Muskoka-Parry Sound Today I am pleased to release a merger plan confirming that public health services and programs will continue to be delivered in your community through two new Health Units - the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, effective April 1, 2005. I fully support and will implement the recommendations of the merger plan, prepared by the Transition Steering Committee. I am also pleased to announce that this plan was endorsed by both the Simcoe County District Board of Health and the North Bay and District Board of Health. Our goal in preparing the merger has been to preserve and strengthen public health (particularly in Muskoka and in Parry Sound) and you will see a number of enhancements which should reassure residents that the plan is headed in the right direction. st For example, effective April 1 , you will be able to count on the leadership of a full-time experienced medical officer of health, a stronger management team, a more extensive on-call system staffed by public health nurses and public health inspectors, strengthened infectious disease expertise, increased surge capacity, and tested emergency policies and procedures. As well, several gaps in service have been identified and will be remedied by the following actions: One health promoter in Muskoka will be assigned to address service delivery gaps in areas of physical activity, healthy eating, sun safety, and early cancer detection In Parry Sound, three public health nurses will be assigned to the Burk’s Falls area to provide adequate services in the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program, Family Health, and Infectious Disease/Vaccine Preventable Diseases program A part time dental hygienist will provide dental services in the Parry Sound area Residents will continue to access all programs and services in their local communities. These results were made possible beginning in October 2004 when I assumed the powers of the Muskoka-Parry Sound Board of Health under Section 86 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Based on a thorough report prepared by the Transition Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the Districts of Muskoka, Parry Sound, Simcoe County, and North Bay, the merger plan has been approved and includes the following elements: All mandatory public health programs will be offered by the two new boards of health, including programs in communicable disease control, family health and healthy lifestyles, and healthy environments. The current provincial boundary that divides the District of Muskoka from the District of Parry Sound will be the line to divide the two newly established health units. This means that all of the District of Muskoka will be part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the lands residing in the territorial District of Parry Sound will be part of the new North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. 4225-64 (04/03) Staff have been assigned to the new units and the Gravenhurst public health office will be maintained and operated by the new Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. The members of the new Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health will include municipal appointees from the County of Simcoe (4), the City of Barrie (2), the District Municipality of Muskoka (2) and the City of Orillia (1). It has been recommended that the provincial government consider appointing up to five public members to the Board. The members of the new North Bay Parry Sound District Board of Health will include municipal appointees from the City of North Bay (3); the Town of Mattawa and the Townships of Bonfield, Calvin, Chisolm, East Ferris, Mattawan and Papineau-Cameron (1); the Municipality of West Nipissing (1); the Municipalities of Callander, Powassan, the Villages of South River, Sundridge and the Townships of Machar and Nipissing (1); the Town of Kearney, the Village of Burk’s Falls and the Townships of Armour, Joly, McKellar, McMurrich-Monteith, Perry, Ryerson and Strong, and the Municipality of Magnetawan (1); and the Town of Parry Sound, the Townships of Archipelago, Carling, Seguin and the Municipalities of McDougall and Whitestone (1). It has been recommended that the provincial government consider appointing up to three public members to the Board. st On April 1 , 2005, the Medical Officer of Health for your new North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit will be Dr. Catherine Whiting. In the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Dr. George Pasut will be your Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Susan Surry, Dr. Colin Lee, and Dr. Jim Pfaff will be your Associate Medical Officers of Health. All are looking forward to working with new communities in the newly constituted health units. The transition is expected to be complete by April 1, 2006 at an estimated cost of $3.7 million to the Government of Ontario. This includes the costs to harmonize service levels and cover one-time costs. The Province is also offsetting any changes to the local municipal levy for public health to ensure that residents pay the same or less for public health services until 2007. Since work began on October 22, 2004, literally hundreds of residents, staff, municipal and community leaders and others have made this merger plan possible. I would like to thank the members of the Transition Steering Committee for providing their insight and advice in their report submitted to me on February 15, 2005: Mervyn Beckstead, Chair, John McRae (Muskoka), Dr. John Cochrane (Parry Sound), Francis Smith (Simcoe Board of Health), Bill Russell (North Bay Board of Health), medical officers of health Dr. Alex Hukowich (Muskoka-Parry Sound), Dr. George Pasut (Simcoe), and Dr. Catherine Whiting (North Bay), and Transition Director Ms. Paddy Buchanan. In particular, I would like to acknowledge and thank the staff in Muskoka-Parry Sound Health Unit for their professionalism and for keeping their focus on public health while clearly dealing with potential disruptions to their lives. One final note. During community meetings held on January 12 and 13, 2005, a question was raised: “How will we know this Merger has actually strengthened public health for us in Muskoka-Parry Sound?” I have made a commitment that a future evaluation will be conducted and results will be communicated to residents of Muskoka and Parry Sound. To be successful, strengthening public health must be a community-wide effort. I look forward to your continuing interest and participation. Yours truly, Dr. Sheela V. Basrur Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister Cc: Dr. Catherine Whiting, Dr. George Pasut 14-075 2