Muskoka To-DAILY

MAHC hosts 3 public consultations on future of hospitals in Muskoka

HUNTSVILLEPublic consultations on the future of local hospitals in Muskoka take place this month.

Three meetings have been scheduled for talks with anyone interested.

They will be held:

 August 26 – 7-8:30 p.m. – Active Living Centre – CanadaSummit Centre, Huntsville

August 27 – 7-8:30 p.m. – Terry Fox Auditorium – Gravenhurst Centennial Centre

August 28 – 7-8:30 p.m. – Bracebridge Sportsplex Auditorium

 Over the past several months, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare has been working to envision Hospital Care for Our Future Generations as part of master planning for the future.

This planning work is underway for a number of reasons: both hospitals are getting old, are inconsistent with current standards, and current space is already challenged. As well, long-range plans indicate the need for new and different space as medicine evolves and standards change, says a release Wednesday.

“While it is difficult to predict the future, we need to plan for the potential clinical services we are going to provide in response to changing demographics in our communities, technological advancements in health care and new demands on the system,” says Natalie Bubela, chief executive officer at MAHC. “This planning work is for the future and should not be viewed as changes that are happening tomorrow.”

The planning work that is underway involves the creation of a Master Program and a Master Plan. The Master Program focuses on how programs and services will change in the future (at 5, 10, 20 years), while the Master Plan identifies the physical space needed in the future (at 25 and 50 years), where and how services will be located, and describes the different stages of development. Completion of these documents is part of the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care’s capital planning process for health care facilities and without them the Ministry will not consider additional uses of the land or significant changes to programs and services.

“We want to be good partners and have been approached by other groups about future partnership opportunities at both sites,” Bubela says. “And as we continue to renew and enhance our facilities through minor renovations to meet evolving standards and the needs of the community, these upgrades are demanding more physical space, which in turn leaves less space for modifications or expansions to other programs and services. To redesign either hospital on today’s standards would more than double the footprint of each site, and that is without factoring in potential future growth. So not only is this work a Strategic Plan focus of the Board of Directors, but it will also provide context for our existing infrastructure renewal planning.”

Later this month, MAHC is hosting a series of Community Information Sessions to share this journey so far, progress to date, and possible options for delivering hospital services in Muskoka in the future. Community support of development options is critical and members of the public are encouraged to attend. For more information, visit

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