Sudbury·Up North

Sault Ste. Marie latest hospital in northeast to make cuts

The hospital in Sault Ste. Marie is facing a $10 million budget shortfall and plans to cut 35 full-time jobs and 7-part time jobs. The news comes a week after North Bay hospital announced staff and bed reductions.

Northern hospitals dealing with budget shortfalls as focus shifts to care in the community

The changes to staffing at the Sault Area Hospital are part of a provincial strategy to provide more care in the community rather than in hospital. (Shutterstock)

The hospital in Sault Ste. Marie is facing a $10 million budget shortfall and plans to cut 35 full-time jobs and 7-part time jobs.

The cuts affect nursing staff, management and other departments.

President and CEO of the hospital, Ron Gagnon, said steps are being taken to reduce the number of people losing jobs, even though positions are disappearing.

"Attrition is one of the areas that we would like to look at as a first, go-to opportunity. We've averaged over the last three years about 40 people leaving the organization through attrition."

Ron Gagnon joined Jason Turnbull on CBC Radio's Up North:

Sault Area Hospital CEO Ron Gagnon confirmed the hospital is looking at a $10 million shortfall in funding for the next year. 8:04

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Reassignment opportunities and early retirement are also being considered, Gagnon added, noting the changes are also part of a change in strategy province-wide to provide more health care in the community.

"The system is going through a transformation. It's going through a transformation of more care being delivered outside of hospital walls," he said. "We are all having to adjust to that."

Union speaks out against North Bay cuts

The union representing hospital workers in North Bay is speaking out about recent job cuts in that city.

In total, 55-full-time jobs will be eliminated, as well as 20-part time positions. Of the 75 jobs being cut, 26 are currently vacant. Eight mental health beds are also being eliminated.

The union said those changes to mental health care will also be felt in Sudbury and other areas across the region.

"There will be an increase in pressure on the Sudbury hospital because people will go there in the hopes that they'll be some relief for them," said Michael Hurley with the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.

Michael Hurley spoke with Jason Turnbull on CBC Radio's Up North:

In northern Ontario, many hospitals are facing cuts due to budget shortfalls. 7:33

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The North Bay hospital said in light of the staff reductions, it is also working to increase community and outpatient services, reducing the need for hospitalization.

The hospital in Temiskaming Shores is also dealing with a $1.4 million budget shortfall.

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