Gore Bay council wants municipalities, First Nations to support physician recruitment program

GORE BAY—While the Town of Gore Bay supports contributing to the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) physician recruitment program, it wants to see all benefitting municipalities and First Nations supporting this plan as well.

Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane told council at a meeting Monday that the town’s general government committee had a passed a resolution recommending that the Town of Gore Bay contribute $3,000 to the physician recruitment plan subject to participation by all benefitting municipalities and that Councillor Jack Clark be appointed to represent the Town of Gore Bay on the physician recruitment committee.

The MHC had approached the town about supporting the physician recruitment program and are forming a committee and have hired a coordinator, town clerk Annette Clarke told council. As well, they are forming a committee of community representatives with health centres and clinics and asking some municipalities for a financial contribution to address the physician shortage on Manitoulin.

However, council was told that while the general government committee agreed that Gore Bay should support the program, given the fact all municipalities benefit from the health services provided, all municipalities should be contributing to the program. It was suggested that this matter should be brought to the Manitoulin Municipal Association for discussion for more complete and representative funding.

“Concerns had been raised that, for instance, Gordon/Barrie Island and Burpee-Mills have not been asked to contribute. One things the committee did was ask Jack to bring this up at a (council) meeting and bring it up at the MMA as well,” Ms. Clarke told council.

“The main issue is that the doctors on the Island are not getting any younger and eventually want to retire and there needs to be ongoing recruitment,” said Mayor Lane. “I consulted with the doctors (at the Gore Bay Medical Centre) and they are in favour of the town supporting the program. But the way the proposal is drafted it doesn’t look like any other Western Manitoulin municipalities or First Nations are included, and this should be considered. That’s why the recruitment committee may have to rethink this.”

“There is a big demand for doctors everywhere,” said Mayor Lane. “The MHC has taken a very proactive approach (MHC) to this issue. We all have to think about the future; where would we be with no medical centre, or hospitals and what would happen if we have no doctors?”

As has been reported previously, the MHC has partnered with physician clinics in Mindemoya, Little Current, Gore Bay and Manitowaning, as well as the Island’s three Family Health Teams (FHT) (the Northeastern FHT, Manitoulin Central FHT and the Assiginack FHT) and Noojmowin Teg Health Centre to create a physician recruitment committee for Manitoulin.

The committee has been reaching out across the Island to potential stakeholder groups, looking for funding, support and community representatives to sit on the committee.