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Work together

Dear editor:

Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. held an open board meeting Nov. 3 in the boardroom of the Emo Health Centre.

A large number of concerned citizens attended regarding the interruption in X-ray services since April at the Emo Health Centre.

Due to congested facilities, a large number of those attending could not access the boardroom, resulting in many standing in the hallway. And just before the meeting, the order was given that there be only one or two spokesmen and they would have 10 minutes to address the board.

I will summarize briefly what was said for the people who unfortunately had to stand in the hallway and could not hear.

1. The mission of Riverside (“To provide exceptional and compassionate health care”) was questioned because it seemed services were eroded in Emo.

2. The utilization figures of the X-ray machine presented by Riverside to various interest groups, including New Gold, Norbord, the Municipality of Emo, and Rainy River First Nations was addressed.

These figures did not reflect an accurate usage of Emo’s X-ray services. Figures were taken from the last five years.

It was made clear that there were problems for a while with the machine and this affected its usage rate, a technician was present only in the mornings, as well as other factors.

It was pointed out that doctor recruitment for the clinic and the hospital would be dependent on functioning medical equipment in Emo.

3. The erosion of services at the Emo Health Centre was presented as a big concern as the mine and OSB mill are close by and the population in this area is growing, with a very busy highway evidence of that.

The central part of the district is now the hub of activity resulting in a growth of population and need for services. This growth puts added pressure on the Emo facility.

Rainy River First Nations donated a large sum to the dialysis unit in Fort Frances. Individuals, groups, and businesses from the area, and the Emo Hospital Auxiliary, also have donated to the CATscan and mammography machines.

4. After much hard work, the Emo Hospital Auxiliary donated more than $16,000 to purchase a digital reader for the X-ray machine now deemed obsolete just four years later.

The auxiliary for years has purchased equipment for the Emo Health Centre and now is purchasing a $30,000 tub.

The auxiliary suggested to Riverside that we need teamwork regarding the X-ray machine and services at the Emo Health Centre. We encourage the Riverside board to be forward-thinking and find a way and resources to continue the essential service of access to X-rays at the Emo Health Centre.

This should be a priority for Riverside. For the health and safety of the residents in our catchment area, and those passing through, we need to work together.

We ask for open and transparent communication from Riverside Health Care regarding the loss in services at the Emo facility.

(Signed),

Mary Curtis

Emo, Ont.

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