A new regional health plan will not affect day-to-day operations of the local hospital, according to administrators.

The Provincial Government has drafted a proposal to consolidate the 35 public health units into 10. The proposal is expected to cost municipalities significantly. The plan would merge Renfrew county public health units with Kingston, Eastern Ontario and Ottawa. The plan will see a 60-40 split in cost sharing between the province and the municipalities, instead of the 70-30 that is currently implemented.

While these costs would see an extra burden on Renfrew County, Chief Operating Officer Greg McLoed says the day-to-day operations of St. Francis Memorial Hospital would not be affected. He says aside from kitchen inspections and vaccination initiatives, Public Health does not have a major impact on the running of the hospital.

The impact of the reorganization would be felt indirectly, McLeod says. Public Health would find it more difficult to provide flu shots or administer anti-smoking campaigns among other services. McLeod says the merger would be felt more in the long term than in the short. He also said that Renfrew Public Health would not be able to administer services for disaster relief as well as they had in the past.

Update: as of May 21st, Renfrew County has written a letter to the province bringing concerns about the measure to merge the units.

Written with files from Jennifer Westendorp