bainjudyUnion representative Judy Bain is concerned about reforms.Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford announced close to $1 million dollars for upgrades to Kenora's hospital.

"Our community depends on this hospital, and we have immediate infrastructure requirements and there is no contingency fund here to deal with that. So this money addresses the things that keep this money going," he said Tuesday, as he visited with staff at Lake of the Woods District Hospital.

Hospital staff note a new all-nations hospital is at least six years away, given the planning and preparation work that needs to be done.

Earlier this year, the province announced four local hospitals would be receiving funding for “urgent” infrastructure improvements, repairs and maintenance costs. This amounted to $175 million to 128 hospitals in 2019.

The hospital's operating rooms have also been renovated recently, at a cost of more than $9.5 million.

Still, hospital unions are concerned about provincial health care reforms. Judy Bain is a vice-president with the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.

"We're really concerned about Bill 74," she said, referring to reforms introduced last month at Queen's Park.

"It doesn't little to help patients," she added, noting no new beds or resources for mental health are being added.

Instead, she says opportunities are now available for private health care services that can operate for profit, and she was concerned by the lack of consultations.

In response, Rickford said his government has an opportunity to transform a health care system that uses 42 cents of every dollar the province spends, and when people experience long waits for treatment or have to be put in hallways, their reactions aren't always positive.

He added Dr. Lisa Habermehl has been added to the premier's council on health care, as they put into place new care groups during the restructuring.

For more information:

Funding for 'urgent' repairs

Hospital renovations nearing completion

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