Halton Region Seeks Meeting With Ontario's Minister of Health
Halton Regional Council is asking for a meeting with the province’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care following the release of a report from the Minister's Expert Panel on Public Health.
Public Health within an Integrated Health System proposes extensive changes to the delivery and governance of public health.
At the Oct. 11 meeting, Regional Council expressed significant concerns about recommendations in the Expert Panel report and the impact on the community.
Regional Council also expressed frustration that the recommendations didn’t address long-standing concerns that have been raised by Halton Region, related to chronic underfunding of public health and the current boundary of the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in Halton.
Halton Region currently delivers a wide variety of public health programs and is a leader in ensuring the integration of service delivery within the community.
This is essential to addressing the social determinants of health, improving well-being in the community and supporting complete communities.
The Expert Panel report recommends a new governance model for public health that replicates the LHIN structure and disconnects public health from social and community services. This model creates significant concerns.
"If implemented, the Expert Panel's recommendations will not address the Region's long-standing concerns related to the realignment of the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) boundaries and the significant provincial $9.7 million annual funding shortfall for health programs," said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.
According to the province, the report recommends strengthening public health's relationships with primary care, community care and other partners, so that all health care services are more responsive to community needs.
The report states that stronger relationships between public health and other partners will make it easier to integrate health protection and promotion into all health care services, the province says, and the recommendations also focus on preserving the independent public health voice and core public health functions.
"This Expert Panel report and the subsequent conversations that follow are important first steps to help us realize a truly integrated health care system that includes all programs and services such as hospitals, home and community care, primary care and public health,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins when the report was released last July.
“These strong connections will ensure that Ontarians are receiving sustainable health care services that will enhance their health and well-being at all ages and stages of life."
As part of the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, Halton Region has been championing for adequate funding formulas that appropriately reflect growth, as well as other important public health program and structure changes.
"The Expert Panel's report provides no evidence that health outcomes or community well-being will be enhanced if the recommendations are implemented," said Carr. "I am requesting a meeting with the Minister to discuss the implications of the Expert Panel's report and recommendations on our community."
Residents can watch the discussion that took place on this issue at the health and social services committee, as well as the Regional Council meeting. For more information on the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 500,000 residents in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills,.