About five years ago, town council, along with local doctors, held a public meeting at the local arena to advise residents regarding the following:
(1). Doctors did not want to be in the business of running a clinic.
(2). Wanted the community to enter a Family Health Team concept for local health care.
(3). Wanted the community taxpayer to loan $1 million for the clinic corporation.
(4). As promised by then Coun. Hamilton, Dr. Algie, and Mr. G. Punch, this was necessary to attract and maintain doctors in Fort Frances.
Well, all the above things happened—and now we are reaping the rewards.
Since then, at least five doctors left our community health care model, three doctors are over age 70, we seriously need an anaesthetist for our hospital emergency room operations, and one doctor will be out of the community regularly as he accepted a prestigious position to head a physicians’ college.
The community direction and recruitment efforts have not produced the positive results promised. Our community health care is in crisis, ladies and gentlemen!
This prompts many questions we need answers to:
•When we purchased the Fort Frances Clinic Corp., and took over as a community clinic, did we purchase the corporation and all of its assets? What did we purchase?
•If we purchased these assets, how does the Nelson Medical Professional Corporation fit into this purchase? Where did it come from—and how was it incorporated?
If we bought out the doctors, why is this corporation in place, what is their role, and how are the assets being divided, costs shared, etc.?
•Why does it take up to three months to get an appointment at the clinic while, at the same time, employees are on staggered schedules and being sent home because there are no clients or appointments on a given day?
We would hope, in addition to town council, that CUPE would publicly shed some light on this issue, as well.
•How is the clinic being staffed from both sides (i.e., Fort Frances Clinic and Nelson Medical Professional Corporation)? One set of books? Two? How?
Unfortunately, we have a Family Health Team concept—like it or not—and it now has to be made to work. And without a full complement of doctors, we are in trouble.
We agree with Mayor Avis as to the money allocated to the doctor recruitment drive. Basically, how is it being spent?
We have a few further questions we hope you will answer:
•Are we buying ads in the medical journals?
•Are we online with doctor sites on the computer?
•Are we buying newspaper ads/radio ads?
•Are we campus recruiting?
•How are we getting to the doctors who are busy working (Internet, circulars, posters to work sites, community billboards)? What are we doing for this money?
•If we have spent $65,000 every year, or $250,000 plus, what are we doing—and why are we getting no results?
Something is wrong. What is it?
We would like to be placed on the next council agenda to discuss this very serious issue. We would like to have our concerns addressed by council in public.
If we recognize a problem exists, let’s fix it. Maybe one way to start is to go from appointments only to a walk-in style clinic.
We believe our community is experiencing a very serious medical health crisis, and we await your response to be placed on the next council agenda.
Allan T. Bedard
and Bill Krukoski
Fort Frances, Ont.