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Plans revealed for new Muskoka hospitals may have some patients driving farther


After months of planning, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) will be changing aspects of its services between the two planned new hospitals in Bracebridge and Huntsville.

"The way that these two hospitals operate today, we can't operate them in the future the same way," said Cheryl Harrison, MAHC president and CEO.

The differences will include obstetric services moving to Huntsville and a significant change to bed capacity.

Both hospitals will have ICUs and surgical centres; however, Bracebridge will have 14 inpatient beds while Huntsville will have 139.

"With this model of these two hospitals, we are expanding services -we're enhancing services, we are not losing any services between these two hospitals. However, it is different, absolutely," said Harrison.

Differences in offering care have generated mixed reactions from many physicians.

"It is a model that is different than what they are used to and two sides that complement each other to allow for more functional efficiency and more specialized care and higher quality care," said Dr. Khalid Abdel Razek, chief of staff, MAHC.

Dr. Scott Whynot, a physician for MAHC, says the new model will create barriers for expectant mothers and seniors.

"Pregnant mothers won't be able to get local prenatal care. They will have to travel for any sort of complication in pregnancy, and it's going to worsen outcomes and worsen patient care," said Whynot.

As for what's next, MAHC has scheduled community meetings with residents over the next two weeks to listen to the concerns and questions that residents may have.

MAHC relocated the Bracebridge community chat on Tues., Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. to the Bracebridge Sportsplex Auditorium at 110 Clearbrook Trail.

In the meantime, a decision on board approval is expected by April before a submission is made to the Ministry of Health. Top Stories

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