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June 23, 2009 MAHC ignores public input in decision to close Burk’s Falls hospital

HUNTSVILLEPublic consultation is the first victim of Muskoka Algonquin Health Care’s decision to shut down the Burk’s Falls hospital.

“MAHC has made it abundantly clear that it’s prepared to steamroll over any meaningful public consultation on a decision that will affect thousands of local residents,” said Barb Barry, president of local 380 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union representing health professionals, office and clerical staff at the hospital.

“It’s a sham. One day they announce the closure and then they expect the public to show up at so-called open houses where these profound changes will be presented as a fait accompli.”

Barry was referring to a series of MAHC open houses scheduled for Burk’s Falls, Huntsville, Dwight, Bracebridge, Port Carling and Gravenhurst between June 22-29.

“One week is not nearly enough time to prepare a thoughtful response to these dramatic changes. MAHC just wants to say it consulted the public and get it over with as quickly as possible.”

The Burk’s Falls hospital closure and other operational changes under MAHC’s jurisdiction are further evidence that more and more public health services, such as out patient physiotherapy, are falling into private hands.

In Parry Sound-Muskoka OPSEU represents a range of health professionals including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, physiotherapy assistants, lab technologists, speech pathologists, dieticians and imaging technologists.