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HomeNewsSave South Muskoka Hospital Committee calls for transparency

Save South Muskoka Hospital Committee calls for transparency

More beds being allocated to the future South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) in Bracebridge isn’t enough for the Save South Muskoka Hospital Committee (SSMH).

Bruce Kruger, chair of SSMH, says the announcement in early April that Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) will allocate 18 inpatient beds to the hospital site in Bracebridge “fails to reflect the increased requirements of beds due to future population growth” adding it’s still less than the 67 beds at the current Bracebridge site.

“We have good people making bad decisions,” says Kruger of senior management at MAHC.

Bobbie Clark, director of communications and stakeholder relations for MAHC, explains in a statement to the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom the 18 beds were reallocated from what is laid out for the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital in MAHC’s “Made-in-Muskoka healthcare system” proposal.

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“The revision to bed allocation followed extensive stakeholder engagement, including that with physicians, to address community needs,” says Clark. She adds “while some perceive transparency issues,” MAHC is preparing to host more community engagement sessions this summer and the organization’s weekly update on April 19 will answer some frequently asked questions.

Cheryl Harrison, president and chief executive officer of MAHC, says the decision-making process is ongoing and will continue to involve feedback from inside and outside the hospital’s walls. “As we continue to share information about the proposed plan, ongoing discussions with our stakeholders, who are essential to this process, will help clarify and shape the functionality of the proposed design,” she says.

Kruger disputes that MAHC has been transparent.

“They keep insisting they’re more than transparent, they wish to proceed in an open manner,” he continues. “That hasn’t occurred whatsoever.”

Kruger asks for MAHC to release the various reports they’ve used to determine the next steps, notably for financial estimates and for how they decided the future hospital site in Bracebridge would be built at 300 Pine St.

However, Clark says that “in compliance with requests from the Ministry [of Health] and Infrastructure Ontario, MAHC will withhold detailed costing information from public release to prevent any potential adverse effects on the competitive bidding process for the project.”

Kruger says there is a credibility issue and reiterates SSMH’s main message: “keep the promise of two acute and equal hospitals.”

SSMH was formed in Jan. 2024 in response to the changes MAHC made to its redevelopment proposal around that time.

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