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Timmins hospital hopes more ophthalmologists will come if they build a new clinic

This month's proceeds from the Timmins and District Hospital Foundation 50/50 lottery will help fund a new ophthalmology clinic.

“It’s very "outside the box thinking from the team at the hospital to bring this project forward and we’re really happy to be funding a locum ophthalmology suite," said Jason Laneville, executive director of the foundation.

Doctor Alejandro Oliver is the only surgical ophthalmologist in Timmins.

"We had somebody here for a little bit less than two years. But they left for southern Ontario which is the case for a lot of physicians," said Oliver, a surgical ophthalmologist.

Oliver has run his practice for around fifteen years, but the workload is more than he can carry on his own.

“We’ve been trying to recruit a full-time person for ten years, unsuccessfully," he said.

In an effort to turn that around, construction is underway to build a new clinic across the hall from his own, located in the medical office building, next door to the Timmins and District Hospital.

"Ophthalmology is special because to attract doctors to practice their craft you need to provide specialized equipment that the hospital doesn’t currently own.”

The new clinic will be a designated space with advanced and sophisticated diagnostic equipment to conduct a variety of scans on the eyes and optic nerve to check people's vision, the shape of their eyes and diagnose diseases.

"And, also to prepare patients for cataract surgery, which is the most common surgery that we do," Oliver added.

Officials with the foundation said, anyone who buys a Timmins and District Hospital Foundation 50/50 ticket this month is contributing to this new clinic.

"It is certainly funded by the government with some help from the foundation. We’re really looking forward to this project come to fruition," said Laneville.

The jackpot this month has already reached over $375,000 and Laneville said he predicts it will grow to more than $700,000.

The clinic for visiting ophthalmologists is just one of many projects the Hospital Foundation will fund in the coming months. The hospital's needs list totals more than $40 million. Top Stories

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