MPP Vic Fedeli says the news about the North Bay Regional Health Centre eliminating the role of Addiction Workers is, unfortunately, not surprising. Fedeli called the news another example of the Ontario Liberals being out of touch with issues in Northern Ontario. NBRHC Communications Specialist Lindsay Smylie confirmed on Friday that six Withdrawal Management services beds are being relocating to the Acute Inpatient Psychiatry Unit on College Drive. The move will see the Addiction Worker role eliminated as result.

Fedeli says due to a lack of funding and high hydro costs, the hospital has had to make too many cuts over the last few years. The relocation of the beds is part of the latest round of cuts. Back in March, it was indicated that between 30 and 40 positions would be eliminated. Fedeli says in Queen’s Park today, the Liberal government doesn’t realize that the North is treated different, and poorly.

When asked what a potential PC government in 2018 would do to fix the hospital funding formula, Fedeli says it would start with shining a light on Northern Ontario issues before passing any bills at Queen’s Park. He says the job of the government is to make sure all of Ontario is equitable. Fedeli says sometimes that means giving Northern Ontario more funding than Southern Ontario. Winters in the North are longer and more brutal, so Fedeli says hospitals also need relief from hydro costs.

Last week the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions released a statement saying the provincial budget provided a 3.1% overall funding increase for hospitals, but the average increase for most Northern hospitals was 2%. The only exception was in Sault Ste. Marie. Fedeli sarcastically finished by saying the cynic in him believes since there’s currently a by-election happening there, that decision might have something to do with politics.