KENORA – Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River announced that a crisis has been averted at the Ear Falls Community Health Centre, which will allow the facility to operate without interruption. Last month, management of the facility contact Campbell regarding the situation and their difficulty in obtaining assistance from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “Ear Falls is doing everything they can to find a doctor or secure a locum, and other doctors nearby are trying to help but they Ministry will not return the town’s phone calls or Emails” she stated during Question Period December 9.
At that time, the Minister stated she was unaware of the situation, but on Campbell’s urging instructed staff to find a solution to the problem. Earlier this week Campbell was advised that the Ministry had accepted the facility’s plan to keep its doors open, which includes assistance from Red Lake physicians and additional locum days to meet the unique needs of the community. “I am pleased that we were able to resolve this issue quickly and effectively,” says Campbell of the news. Campbell says “A lot of credit needs to go to the management of the facility, who had a strong plan to manage the situation”.
“This was a unique case,” noted Campbell. “Health Centre management had a plan in place, their problem was getting the Ministry to approve it. I’d like to thank Minister Matthews for her assistance on the matter and hope we can continue to work together in finding long-term solutions to the region’s healthcare issues.”
While the announcement means service will continue at the facility, Campbell notes, “More needs to be done to ensure uninterrupted service continues in Ear Falls and across the region, including finding doctors to staff the facility on a more permanent basis and the creation of a northern health strategy to help communities combat both short and long term staffing issues”.
“This time we’ve managed to find a solution, but approval for that solution was unnecessarily complicated,” she explains. “We need to find a streamlined process that will ensure northern and rural health centres can obtain the help they need when they need it, and it needs to be part of a larger plan designed to meet the unique challenges our communities face.” Campbell adds that she will continue to press the Minister for help in other communities across the region, including Rainy River, where the community’s sole remaining doctor recently announced he will be leaving the community next year.