QUEEN’S PARK – Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River is again calling on the Ministry of Health to acknowledge the current funding model for doctors and hospitals is hurting small communities in the north. A month after calling on Health Minister Deb Matthews to visit the riding and see the shortcomings for herself, Campbell has asked for immediate action to help northern communities, following news that Rainy Rivers’ only doctor will be leaving the community a year earlier than planned.
“The only doctor who is left in Rainy River is leaving his position as of April after concluding, and this is a quote from him, “that the Ministry of Health has no interest in fixing the problem,” she stated in Question Period Feb. 23.
In his letter, which can be viewed in last week’s the Rainy River Record and Westend Weekly, Dr. Singleton blames the province’s funding model for leaving rural communities shorthanded, stating that unless it is changed smaller health centres will continue to face the same problems.
“It’s a systemic issue. It’s not a problem at the LHIN level; it’s a systemic issue. This doctor has been sounding alarm bells for years,” stated Campbell in her follow-up question .”The minister knows all of this, yet she keeps hoping that the problems will somehow magically disappear. Well, they won’t. The system as it now stands is broken. Will the minister commit to working with me and health care officials to create a strategy that works for Rainy River and other northern communities?”
Campbell says Dr. Singleton’s letter re-affirms her position took in an open letter to the Minister, dated January 19, to which Matthews has not responded. She reaffirms her willingness to work with the Minister to find a funding model that works for northern communities, but says it is up to Matthews to make the next step.
“I’m not trying to place blame. I’m trying to find solutions. I want the Minister on board with me to help ensure timely access to healthcare is available throughout my riding and across northern Ontario,” she states.