Family health team managing amid cutbacks
By Chad Ingram
The executive director of the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team says the organization is managing amid provincial cutbacks.
The provincial government and the province’s doctors have been without an agreement for more than a year and the province has made cutbacks, the most recent an across-the-board funding clawback of 2.65 per cent, enacted last April.
“It definitely has had an impact on local physicians, but thus far has been manageable,” Kimberley Robinson told the paper.
The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has also made changes around admitting physicians into family health organizations throughout the province.
A maximum of 20 new registrations are allowed per month, and in high-need areas only.
“Fortunately, our community is deemed high need,” Robinson wrote in an email.
The Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team currently has 11 doctors on its roster, most located at the clinic in Haliburton Village and Dr. Nell Thomas working out of Minden.
“In the last few months we have lost two physicians, but we continued to provide care and designate new physicians for those patients who were without a primary care provider,” Robsinson wrote. “We recognize that we may be facing a physician shortfall within the next two years, but are hopeful that recruitment efforts will be successful. We also recognize that having a second physician in Minden would be of great benefit to the community.”
Algonquin Highlands Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen, who sits on the county’s health care professional recruitment committee recently told county councillors they should be prepared to have some cash ready for recruitment efforts and said a focus would be another doctor for the Minden clinic.
Robinson also recognized the allied health professionals – nurse practitioners, dieticians, social workers, seniors heath nurses, etc. – who are part of the organization.
“The allied health professionals of the family health team are incredibly valuable and help maintain a high level of care that we are very proud of,” she wrote. “They provide services in Haliburton and Minden as do the physicians. Many of the physicians, whose clinic address is Haliburton, travel to Minden weekly to see their patients who live closer to that clinic, as do the allied health professionals.”
There are some 34,000 doctors and med students throughout the province.