Whether or not Burk’s Falls has access to a hospital-run health facility depends on who is in government. The Liberals have closed it under David Peterson. The Tories re-opened it under Mike Harris. The Liberals closed it again under Dalton McGuinty.
Now the community is putting together a business case to establish a full community health centre. As part of that development, the community is hoping to get an urgent care centre as part of the package.
Local mayors and councillors are behind the project, along with a representative from the Burk’s Falls Family Health Team. The McGuinty government argued that the FHT would replace the Burk’s Falls facility operated by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. Since that time, the community has been without nearby access to urgent care. The fact that the FHT is involved with the project speaks volumes as to whether they regard themselves as a “replacement” to what was lost.
The Burk’s Falls area has a full-time population of 12,500 but swells in the summer to 25,000. It is located north of Huntsville en route to North Bay.
The municipal committee looking to establish an Amalguin Health Centre have put up an on-line survey as part of the business case they are developing for the centre.
You can access it by going to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WLTKSJW
The community has also established a web site at http://www.almaguin-health.org/4828.html
Community Health Centres are an excellent model of health care delivery. Not only are they models of integrated health care, but CHCs often are involved in community building, from literacy programs to diabetes education.
The committee looking to establish a CHC is Burk’s Falls may want to look at Etobicoke’s LAMP Community Health Centre, which mixes core health services with immigrant settlement services, kids nutrition programs, a youth drop-in centre and more. It takes the social determinants of health seriously and provides real “upstream” services aimed at not just treating illness and injury, but preventing it in the first place.
OPSEU members toured LAMP several years ago as part of a conference staged by the Association of Ontario Health Centres.