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$5.8M booster shot for Health Sciences North

Provincial funding to reduce wait times, support programs
Sudbury MPP and Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault announced Friday that Health Sciences North will receive $5.8 million more in 2017-2018 to reduce wait times, among other initiatives. (Darren MacDonald)

The province is providing Health Sciences North with an additional $5.8 million in operating funding for the coming year, Sudbury MPP and Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault announced Friday.

The funding represents about a two-per-cent increase in HSN's budget. Sudbury's other hospital, St. Joseph's Continuing Care Centre, will receive an additional $210,000.

Thibeault said the money will reduce wait times, expand services, and provide better care to patients in Sudbury. It's part of an additional $500 million hospitals across the province are slated to achieve.

He also lauded the province's OHIP-plus program, which provides free prescription drugs for all Ontarians under age 25.

"Close to 24,000 young people in Sudbury — young adults and children — will actually have access to a pharmacare plan and that's great news for our community, great news for families," Thibeault said. 

"Workers can't count on the benefits like they used to. Families shouldn't have to choose between paying for the medications their kids need and other priorities. And young adults shouldn't have to worry about what they'll be able to afford when it comes to medications."

He also vowed to lobby for expanding NEO Kids in Sudbury, saying he was “100-per-cent supportive."

Deputy Mayor Al Sizer said he and the rest of city council are aware how fortunate they are to have a facility like HSN in the city.

"Anytime we can improve the level of service and provide better care to those in need, is certainly a good investment,” Sizer said.
Nicole Everest, chair of HSN's board of directors, said the funding is a welcome boost at a difficult time. 

"This funding will help alleviate the pressures we are facing here at HSN, which are common to hospitals across Ontario," Everest said. "As you know, HSN has been dealing with high levels of overcapacity, with many patients requiring much-needed care.

"This had led to long waits in the emergency department, at times placing patients in lounges and hallways. Today's funding is a good start and will help alleviate some of these pressures. We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but this funding will ease the burden."