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Huron Perth Public Health permanently closing Wingham site

An organizational restructure at Huron Perth Public Health due to a budget shortfall was announced last month
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Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is permanently closing its Wingham site. 

The facility at 131 John St. E., in Huron County, will shut down, as of Jan. 1. 

HPPH said in a media release that the closure will affect sexual health services and immunizations in Wingham. 

HPPH announced in November that a budget shortfall led to an organizational restructure and a 10 per cent reduction in staff, including public health nurses, public health promoters, a program manager, a public health dietitian, an administrative assistant/program support, a program evaluator, a community developer and an online communications coordinator.

The Wingham location closure is part of the restructure. 

Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron and Perth, said last month that HPPH needs to address a $1.5 million funding gap accumulated over five years. They would need to eliminate 13.5 positions from the HPPH organizational structure to that, Klassen said. 

The medical officer of health said that while a one per cent base-funding increase for public health units over the next three years was welcome news, providing "stability and predictability for budget planning," it does not cover the gap in funding for increases such as operating expenses, wages and benefits and overall cost of living increases in Canada, which has been well above one per cent. 

Klassen said HPPH have spent the past year decreasing program expenses in a variety of ways but most of of the organization's budget is for human resources.

HPPH said in for sexual health services through HPPH, to call 1-888-221-2133 ext. 2406 or text 519-440-1439. Harm reduction supplies continue to be available through Royal Oaks Pharmacy at 131 John St. E., in Wingham.

HPPH said well water sample services will still be available at the hospital lab and oral health services will continue through the HPPH space at Wingham & District Hospital.

The Huroun County office in Clinton is now the only HPPH site in that county, in addition to two sites in Stratford and one in Listowel.