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Is anybody listening?

Dear editor:

The press release by Riverside announcing the “nixing” of X-ray service in Emo expresses thanks to those sharing their perspectives.

Ironically, the LHIN was informed and the press release was handed out before the meeting with Riverside. Any comments or questions we had were made after the fact.

There was no “working together.”

An important tool for our doctors has been taken away. X-ray also is needed for doctor recruitment.

We learned that any annual savings resulting in the closure of the X-ray will not even be directed back to the Emo Health Centre.

The press release stated “Emo residents requiring X-ray services now will be directed to La Verendrye General Hospital in Fort Frances.” But that ignores the people from Manitou, Barwick, Stratton, Devlin, Northwest Bay, Whitefish Bay, and Nestor Falls and the smaller communities in the catchment area.

Do these people exist or even matter?

At last count, there were up to 5,000 people living in the Emo catchment area—many at long distances from Emo itself, let alone Fort Frances, creating hardships for many who have to travel further.

We have three large industries in our area and eight schools. Our people left their homes, farms, and lands to relocate to make way for the mine. Our First Nations gave the green light for the project to go ahead. Others gave permission to cross lands.

Our farmers provide food for the table.

Just at a time when our district is working together and getting back on its feet, why would Riverside further erode our services in the central part of the district and neglect our doctors who chose a lifetime of caring for others?

Emo is a three-doctor designation serving a very large area, but now we are short one doctor. Riverside is the landlord for the Emo Clinic (situated in the lower level of the health centre). For years, they have been promised to have necessary repairs and renovations done.

It is difficult to attract new doctors when they see such conditions of disrepair, not to mention the discouragement it has been to our own doctors (it is difficult enough to get doctors to come to the north and this neglect is truly shameful).

Our doctors need and deserve our help. We ask Riverside, the MAC committee, and the LHIN to rethink their decisions and look at the broader picture. We were told that Emo is just 25 minutes from Fort Frances—a statement that has gone around for years to justify closing services in Emo.

Up to 5,000 people in Emo's catchment area do not live on some parking lot 25 minutes from Fort Frances.

Is anybody listening?

(Signed),

Mary Curtis

Emo, Ont.

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