Former Huntsville elected officials are speaking out against the possibility of surgical services being moved to Bracebridge. Former mayor Hugh Mackenzie accuses Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) on Facebook, of not getting the public involved in what may happen to services at each hospital site. Mackenzie says he knows MAHC has challenges to live within their budget.

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Mackenzie used to be a member of the Huntsville Hospital Board and the foundation. Meanwhile, Former councillor Tim Withey says this is an ongoing budget issue with MAHC as they’ve been tasked to balance the budget by the province.

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Both Mackenzie and Withey say they received word that this may happen from people working at MAHC. Mackenzie says he got the information from sources he can’t reveal because of a gag order at the hospital. He says he does know that Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is looking at options for rationalization between the two sites.

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Withey, on the other hand, says this isn’t a new thought as this option was discussed when he was on the hospital board back in 2010.

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Mackenzie and Withey believe the public should have more input. Mackenzie says it’s important people recognize the potential of the decision that may be made by the hospital board of our community.

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We reached out to MAHC to confirm or deny that surgical services are being moved. In an email to The Moose, acting CEO Tim Smith says, “as part of MAHC’s planning for the future, staff and clinicians are meeting to discuss and evaluate a number of options for delivering health care in Muskoka. No plans have been confirmed and some ideas that are brainstormed may or may not see fruition. Once a clear strategy is developed, we are committed to openly engaging our stakeholders and communities as we have on several occasions throughout the planning process.”

Despite this response, Withey says it’s still concerning.

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Withey says often times they can make decisions without the public finding out until long after the decision has been enacted.