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HKPR considering merging with Peterborough Public Health

DAN CEARNS The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Kawartha Lakes’ local health unit, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR), is considering a merger with another health unit.

In a press release sent out on Thursday, November 2nd, the health unit states they “are moving forward with a process to explore the impacts of a voluntary merger” with Peterborough Public Health (PPH).

In August 2023, the Ministry of Health announced plans to strengthen the public health sector by offering one-time funding, resources and supports to local public health agencies [which] decide to voluntarily merge. The province has indicated as part of one-time funding that mergers would need to be implemented by January 1st, 2025,” the press release stated. “In 2019, PPH and HKPR District Health Unit previously explored opportunities for shared service delivery in response to efforts by the provincial government to reduce the number of local public health agencies. Completing a pre-assessment study marks the first step towards understanding how the current proposal would affect delivery of public health programming and emergency response capacity locally.”

In a statement, David Marshall, Chair of HKPR District Health Unit’s Board of Health discussed how this merger could benefit the health unit.

“Public health’s primary reason for being is to improve the overall standard of health in the community being served,” he said. “Doing so goes a long way to relieve the tremendous strain currently being borne by our downstream health sector and those people working within it. If there is a way to strengthen our ability to improve these health standards it is our responsibility to investigate it.”

A decision is expected to be made by both local health units in the early months of 2024.

“Both PPH and HKPR District Health Units will continue to operate independently during the pre-assessment period,” the press release concluded.

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