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Sault MPP cautiously optimistic about a health care solution


Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano says he’s cautiously optimistic a solution can be found in providing primary care to thousands of local patients being de-rostered and who are at risk of being de-rostered through the Group Health Centre.

Romano also said he’s willing to meet with anyone who wants to know about the work being done to provide primary care to patients in the city.

His comments come following a request from United Steelworkers Local 2251, in which they requested a face-to-face between Romano and the unions.

"As you are aware, the Group Health Centre itself has de-rostered 3,000 patients prior to 2024 and is de-rostering 10,000 patients as of May 31," the letter read.

"It was also stated by the Group Health Centre that 6,000 more are at risk."

The letter’s authors go on to cite an alleged incident in which a local doctor applied for a grant from the provincial government to train up to 51 international doctors presently in Sault Ste. Marie and was denied.

"If this in fact is the case, it must be the provincial government of which you are part of, who is denying requests/applications. This is extremely puzzling," the open letter goes on to say.

CTV News contacted Romano on Thursday evening for comment and he said he had only learned of the incident shortly before the rest of the city on January 11.

He has since put together a taskforce in hopes of coming up with a mission statement, both short- and long-term, and solutions to addressing the issues involving doctor shortages.

"The taskforce is comprised of a representative of every type of primary care provider in our community. I tried to bring generational perspectives from all age groups," Romano said.

"We also have a number of specialists who are part of the taskforce."

The MPP said he has been working closely with the Ontario Ministry of Health in a bid to come up with a solution to the crisis.

"I can make no guarantees, but I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’m working towards that because I refuse to lose sight of those patients," he said.

Adding he's hopeful they can come up with a solution before May 31 in hopes of giving affected patients enough time to transition before the final date.

The union’s letter was signed by 17 different individuals who make up much of the city’s organized labour force.

Earlier this year, 10,000 patients of the Group Health Centre were notified by letters that they would be losing access to their primary care providers and same-day clinic services after May 31. Top Stories

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