The fight for nursing stations in rural Muskoka continues
A meeting has been set up with the Ministry of Health to continue talks about nursing stations in rural Muskoka. A Nursing Station Task Committee has submitted a proposal for operating funds to get nursing stations in areas like Dorset, Port Carling, Port Severn and Ryde. District of Muskoka Councillor Fran Coleman says this will be a partnership between the province, the District, local health care providers and the townships.
The proposal also requests funding for a nurse practitioner to provide care to social housing sites in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. Coleman is also part of the Nursing Station Committee. She says they met last week with community members who really want this to happen.
The push for these stations came after the District did a needs and a service gap assessment in 2012. Nurse Practitioner Donna Kearney says the results showed that rural residents were missing out on primary healthcare services.
The meeting date with the ministry has note been finalized.
Other key points to know about:
- The Nursing Station Task Committee (committee chair is Steve Clement) was formed in 2011 after District staff visited the Rosseau Nursing Station at the request of Councillor Allen Edwards from Muskoka Lakes
- The nursing stations will be staffed by nurse practitioners and are being proposed for Dorset, Port Carling, Port Severn, and Ryde.
- The proposal also requested financial support for Wahta and Moose Deer nursing stations, which have been operating in Muskoka for years. Both of these nursing stations serve aboriginal and non-aboriginal clients.
- The proposal is a partnership between the province (provides operating funds), the District (provides administration and leads the shared governance with other health care providers and agencies in Muskoka), and the Townships (provides the building for the nursing station).
- The community members will form a community advisory committee for each nursing station and will lead fundraising efforts for purchases of extra equipment, future building renovations or additions, etc.
- Local health care agencies and providers are aware of and fully support the nursing station proposal – we have letters of support from MAHC, CCFHT, AFHT, and the NPLC, as well as each of the Townships where sites are being proposed. All partners will be involved in governance of the nursing stations.
- Nursing stations are open for anyone to use – you do not have to give up your doctor and your doctor does not get penalized for you using the nursing station, in fact, we will be negotiating a shared medical record. That means, as a patient, no matter where you get your care; your chart with all your information will follow you. That means your doctor is always ‘in the loop’ and you don’t have to re-tell your history every time you see someone, and the provider delivering your care knows your allergies and your medications, and your health history so we can provide safe care.
- Nursing stations will target three rural populations specifically; the elderly, marginalized (mental, physical, or economic limitations), and seasonal populations who come to our rural areas to play.