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Sudbury health unit wants a merger, Algoma health unit says nope

Algoma Health Unit votes against a merger with Public Health Sudbury and Districts 

Sudbury's board of health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) has voted in favour of a merger with the Algoma Public Health (APH) agency. Despite that, Algoma Public Health has said no thanks, and has voted against the merger idea.

The PHSD vote took place Tuesday, following what was described in a news release as "careful review and intense deliberations" by the board of health, said a news release.  

Although the merger proposal would normally be submitted to the Ministry of Health, the opposing viewpoints of the two health units means that a merger proposal will not be submitted to the ministry.

“Today’s Public Health Sudbury & Districts deliberations were in response to the Ministry of Health’s August 2023 announcement encouraging voluntary mergers and providing merger support funding for public health units. On behalf of Board members, I would like to extend our gratitude for the thoughtful and extensive work by both boards of health, the Medical Officers of Health, and staff from both public health units over the last few months to gather the information necessary to make an informed decision,” said René Lapierre, chair of the board of health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts, in the release.

Earlier in the day, however, the Algoma Board of Health voted against a merger with Public Health Sudbury, said the release.

Lapierre said despite the Sudbury and Algoma boards reaching opposing decisions, it enriched the "relationships and mutual understanding" of both boards. 

“Throughout the process, the board has been committed to ensuring a responsive, local public health service so we can respond to the health issues of today and the unexpected surges in demand of tomorrow. While our respective boards have decided differently, the diversity of perspectives shared during this exploration has enriched our relationships and mutual understanding,” said Lapierre.

This follows a decision in mid-November when the PHSD board of health approved the 2024–2028 Strategic Plan, and the budget for 2024, which included first steps in exploring mergers with other local public health units.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe remarked that despite the differences, both public health agencies have a strong commitment to their communities. 

“Our health system is under considerable strain, and we know that it’s critical to invest in a strong public health system to keep us healthy — from kids to seniors and from oral health to safe drinking water. We have longstanding and excellent relationships with Algoma Public Health — from frontline staff to senior leadership — and I know that both agencies remain committed to acting in the best interests of local communities to achieve the health equity that our areas deserve,” said Sutcliffe. “Today’s decisions mean that our existing relationships continue and we look forward to future collaborations in support of local public health.”


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