Glenn Thibeault has not yet revealed details of his meeting Monday with Health Minister Dr. Helena Jaczek, but said he had a very productive conversation with the minister.
Having reliable, accessible, quality health care is a priority for the Liberal government and for him as Sudbury MPP, said Thibeault. That is why he met with Jaczek to discuss how some of the extra $822 million his government has promised hospitals might help Sudbury’s deficit-plagued hospital system.
Health Sciences North is facing a $10-million deficit for 2018-2019, more than twice the $4.9-million approved by its board of directors. HSN president and chief executive officer Dominic Giroux has warned that cuts to front-line personnel and to programs are inevitable if the hospital does not receive more funding.
In recent years, hospital costs have risen twice as much as the increase in funding from all sources, Giroux said last week.
Thibeault said his government has made a 4.6-per-cent increase in hospital funding in the current budget, an $822-million investment to reduce wait times and improve access to care. That is in addition to $500 million more in hospital funding last year. HSN received a $5.8-million budget increase in 2017 and a $4.87-million budget increase in 2018 – a total $10-million increase over two budget years, Thibeault said.
HSN’s annual operating budget is $490 million. Its board of directors will allow it to run a deficit of one per cent of that total.
Thibeault said he’s looking forward to continuing his conversation with Jaczek to ensure “any unique challenges at HSN are understood and worked through.”
Thibeault is also Ontario’s Energy minister.
Carol Mulligan is an award-winning reporter and one of Greater Sudbury’s most experienced journalists.