Huntsville is giving the green light to allow a permanent health hub at the Port Sydney Fire Hall. Council made the decision at its December 19th meeting, after hearing about some of the issues the current mobile units have. Health Hub representatives Donna Kearney and Jane Derbyshire spoke at the meeting, saying there are accessibility problems with the RV, and it’s hard to cool down in the summertime and heat up in the winter.

Council voted unanimously to allow the health hub to use a spare office at the fire hall two days a week, as an exam room. There aren’t expected to be any extra costs with the permanent exam room, as the fire hall is already being heated and maintained.

The hubs are a collaboration between Algonquin Family Health Team, Cottage Country Family Health Team, Health Links (led by the District Municipality of Muskoka), and various rural communities. The project began in 2014 and is set to end in August. Health hub representatives say they are now in the final evaluation stage of the project, and will be sending a request for permanent funding to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Huntsville is also supporting the continuation of the project by writing a letter to the ministry, which will be included in this month’s final evaluation and sustainability plan.

There are health hubs in Severn Bridge, Port Sydney, Vankoughnet, Wahta First Nation, Port Carling and Dorset. Almost 2,000 patients are registered with the service, which aims to provide care to those without a primary doctor. The annual budget is around $900,000 and the hubs are run by nurse practitioners.

District councillors support health hub program, but want more provincial funding