Unlike the New Democrat MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane, the Medical Officer of Health for the Nipissing Parry Sound District Health Unit is not denouncing a plan by the Ford government to merge Ontario’s 35 health units into 10 larger operations.

However, Doctor Jim Chirico says the proposed changes will have significant short and long-term impacts on health.

Chirico believes with all the changes to health the government wants to implement, public health “is well positioned to improve health outcomes for all”.

But Chirico points out that for “hallway medicine” to end, it’s critical that public health unit professionals are part of the talks and decision-making process to bring about a restructured system.

Chirico says the local health unit is committed to working with the government to find solutions and efficiencies with healthcare.

He says money has to be spent effectively in order to reduce any future financial burden on the acute health care system.

The Medical Officer of Health believes this process must be planned out carefully and all stakeholders need to have input.

Reducing the number of health units to 10 is expected to save $200-million.