Province gives Lambton hospitals $4-million boost

The extra money will help Bluewater Health balance the books, expand services, and avoid layoffs

(Lambton Shield File Photo)

The provincial government will invest an additional $4,127,593 in Bluewater Health hoping to provide faster access to health care, expand crucial services and procedures, and improve the patient experience.

“The new funding a does allow us to balance this year, so that’s important,” said Mike Lapaine, president and CEO of Bluewater Health.

Some of the funding is tied to specific programs, said Lapaine. “We’ll be doing about another 65 hip and knee replacements, about another 20 cataract surgeries and we’ll be expanding our MRI hours slightly.”

The boost is appreciated after Bluewater Health faced a funding reduction a few years ago, asid Lapaine.

“It provides some measure of stability and predictability,” he said.

The funding will also help ease the worries of Bluewater Health employees.

“We made a commitment while we were doing the planning this year to avoid layoffs and I believe with this funding we will be able to fulfill that promise at both the Sarnia and Petrolia sites,” said Lapaine.

Ontario’s health care budget will total $53.8 billion in 2017– 2018 — a 3.8 per cent increase from the previous year. This investment in Sarnia-Lambton is part of a 3.1 per cent increase in hospital funding proposed in Ontario’s 2017 Budget.

“By increasing our investment to each and every publicly funded hospital in Ontario, patients will be able to connect with specialists faster, have reduced wait times and better access to the procedures they need close to home,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

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