Funds will flow for Mindemoya health team

MINDEMOYA—After two years of patiently waiting in cramped quarters, the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team (FHT) finally received the news they had been waiting for last Thursday, that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care would provide funding to support a 3,700 square foot capital expansion project to house the FHT in Mindemoya, adjacent to the hospital building.

“This is great news for the people of Manitoulin; it’s truly been a collaborative community effort,” said Minister of Health and Long Term Care Deb Matthews. “With primary care at the centre of our efforts to transform Ontario’s health care system, it’s very encouraging to see this exciting project move forward.”

“We’re all very, very excited,” said Lori Oswald, executive director of the FHT. “That just seems anticlimactic,” she laughed.

Ms. Oswald said she is most looking forward to bringing the team together in a proper space so they may continue to do their good works in improving the health of the community the FHT serves.

“It is extremely important that the team has this space to provide good care to our patients,” she added. “The team has been so patient and has done such excellent work in such small quarters. We can’t wait to work the way we have always envisioned it,” she added.

The executive director noted the hard work and commitment the FHT has had from MHC CEO Derek Graham and the MHC board of directors. “We have spent the last few days being over-the-top excited and now it’s time to get to work,” Ms. Oswald said.

This FHT will be attached at the north end of the Manitoulin Health Centre Mindemoya site. The location of the building was proposed as a patient-centered, cost-effective and integrated solution, allowing for a full range of health care services to be available at a single site. In addition, this model has the added benefit of assisting in the attraction and retention of clinicians to the Central Manitoulin region.

“There will be a new reception area, exam rooms and offices, healing lodge and a large meeting space,” Ms. Oswald told The Expositor in a previous interview, explaining that the FHT will link directly to the physician’s offices via a ramp system.

The FHT staff will include a nurse practitioner, specialists, registered nurse, pharmacist, health promoter, executive director, administration staff and a traditional healer and helper.

Mr. Graham explained that the next step would be to sit down with the FHT and work closely to create a tender for an architect for the project. Following that, the rest of the tenders will go out.

Both say they are hoping to see a shovel in the ground by the spring of 2014.

“If it weren’t for the degree of cooperation and spirit of partnership we built between the FHT and MHC, other parties might have just given up, but we were tenacious in our goals,” Mr. Graham said.

“This absolutely had to happen for Mindemoya—you just can’t expect people to work out of a trailer,” he added. “I look forward to celebrating this with everyone.”

“The Manitoulin Central Family Health Team and Manitoulin Health Centre would like to acknowledge the dedication and tireless support given to this project by all stakeholders, including board members of the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team and the Manitoulin Health Centre, the patients and staff of both organizations, the North-East Local Health Integration Network, the Health Capital Investment and Primary Care branches of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, the Township of Central Manitoulin and the M’Chigeeng First Nation,” Mr. Graham concluded.

Alicia McCutcheon