Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Norm Miller is praising introduced legislation that will help create integrated healthcare.

Bill 74, the People’s Healthcare Act was being debated in the legislature when Miller took time to point out the support he was receiving from local healthcare leaders. He also praised Health Minister Christine Elliot for specifically including the hospitals in Bracebridge and Huntsville in the last week’s budget.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Health for listening to the people of Muskoka and Almaguin. Page 116 of this year’s budget lists hospital projects in the construction or planning stages,” said Miller. “It includes redevelopment plans for both Bracebridge’s and Huntsville’s hospitals. This will come as a relief for many in Muskoka who know that timely access to their hospitals will save lives. I’m very pleased to see their voices have been heard.”

Miller did not shy away from the need to improve the healthcare system in the province, noting issues local residents experience.

“Without a doubt, this system can and should be improved. Ontario’s patients shouldn’t have to wait any longer,” said Miller.

Miller was part of a meeting on March 11th with Elliott and members of the Muskoka and Area Health Transformation Council. Other healthcare leaders from the riding were also in attendance.

“I was very pleased to have an opportunity to sit down with Minister Elliott and health care leaders from across my riding in March. Doctors, mental health workers, nurses, administrators, and patients were all represented, and the tone of the meeting was overwhelmingly positive,” said Miller. “Phil Matthews, who is the chair of the board of directors for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, heralded Bill 74 as ‘exactly the type of legislation they’ve been looking for,’ and described it as dovetailing exactly with the work they’ve been doing to create integrated care in their communities.”

Miller also spoke of comments from Natalie Bubela, CEO of MAHC, who told the meeting that MAHC would be submitting “a collaborative application for an Ontario health team modelled around primary care that builds up the exceptional work previously done by the Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation group.”

Miller also mentioned words from Donald Sanderson, CEO of the West Parry Sound Health Centre who said, “We see great opportunity in your vision for health care transformation. We are proud to say that Bill 74 describes the community-based relationships that already involve West Parry Sound Health Centre and our care partners. This legislation will enable us to create even stronger partnerships with patients and families at the centre of our care.”

Miller wrapped up his address with praise in support of the bill.

“Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for these individuals and all healthcare providers in Parry Sound–Muskoka. I trust these people, and they are saying that we are headed in the right direction,” said Miller. “And I’m proud to say that I’m here today in support of Minister Elliott’s vision.”