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Emergency departments on Manitoulin Island may be forced to close some days next month

Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) announced earlier this week that they were eyeing several days in October for possible temporary closures of their emergency departments.

Since that announcement, the Government of Ontario has increased funding for the Temporary Locum Program in the area.

While health officials told CTV News the extension of the temporary locum program is welcome news – it still may not come in time to avoid the closure of the Mindemoya emergency department for a few days in October.

The new locum funding also allowed them to fill three of the 10 shifts they did not have coverage for, said officials and they are still looking.

The president of professional staff at MHC said more funding is needed out of province as at this time Little Current and Mindemoya are only allotted funds for a limited number of doctors at each site.

“We are really in need of long-term additional team members, we need to recruit long-term for here and in the short term we need additional locums,” said Doctor Maurianne Reade.

In subsequent interviews with CTV News Reade and Doctor Stephen Cooper, MHC’s chief of staff clarified that the Mindemoya site is now funded for 7.5 full-time doctor equivalents and the Little Current site is not funded for more than 13 full-time doctor equivalents*.

“It’s pretty shocking – it’s always interesting seeing across the country, Ontario in particular, the number of places that have been in that position,” said Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands mayor Al MacNevin.

“It’s frightening. I know they’re trying to mitigate as much as they can the number of shifts that might involve that closure. We’ve asked them what we can do to help.”

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes told CTV News both the provincial and federal governments need to sit down with municipalities to address their needs.

“We’ve seen it not just here on Manitoulin Island but across the North Shore as well and other rural and northern communities,” she said.

The hospital has yet to disclose which days the emergency departments will be closed.

In the meantime, MHC’s staffing group has submitted an expression of interest to the Practice Ready Ontario Program in hopes of becoming home to a new international medical graduate.


*The video attached (which was also broadcasted) incorrectly indicated that both the Little Current and Mindemoya were now funding for 7.5 full-time doctor equivalents. Top Stories


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