A provincial funding freeze has forced the Simcoe County District Health Unit to cut $1 million in salaries and reorganize its departments, said the board of health vice-chair Scott Warnock.
“This goes hand in hand with hospitals, long-term care and public health are all stressed when it comes to funding from the province.
“Our funding has been frozen for two years and we’re having to make some very significant changes to the way the health unit delivers service,” Warnock told county council Tuesday – the day the county found out its long-term care funding dropped by $340,767 and the day the RVH announced it too would cut jobs to balance its books. (see related stories)
“We’ve reduced salaries by $1 million. We have laid folks off, but have not reduced programs or services. A lot of it was internal moving people around. Some positions have become redundant. We found cost efficiencies in changing the major structures.”
One department was eliminated and 11 full-time positions were cut.
The sexual health clinic in Alliston will close March 31.
The board of health also cut operating expenses by another $90,000.
The board of health is appealing to the county and other funding partners to boost their contributions two per cent to make up for the shortfall, a challenge health units throughout Ontario face as the province froze funding and introduced a new provincial model introduced last September.
“There are some health units that receive up to 40 per cent of funding from their municipalities,” said Warnock, noting a slight increase boosts the municipal share to 25.8 per cent.