Melillo commented once again on the need for federal help when it comes to the healthcare shortages in the north.
The entire nation is feeling the effects of the physician and healthcare worker shortage in Canada, but the situation in northwestern Ontario (NWO) is really reaching a boiling point.
Two healthcare facilities in NWO have warned of possible Emergency Department closures in the past month. Lake of the Woods District Hospital (LWDH) and the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), both say that closures will most likely happen this summer due to physician and staffing shortages.
Physician shortages temporarily closed the Red Lake Margaret Couchenour Memorial Hospital in March. They were almost forced to close their doors once again in June but the closure was narrowly avoided thanks to a last-minute decision from a LOCUM doctor.
According to Eric Melillo, MP for the Kenora riding, more help needs to come from the federal government.
“These shortages are something that we need to see the federal government take more action on,” said Melillo.
“In fact, recently all of the provincial Premiers met in British Columbia and they were unequivocal in their calls for the federal government to do more in supporting the health care system across the country.”
For the first time since 2019, the provincial premiers met in BC to discuss the growing healthcare crisis. They requested that the federal government contribute more to the funding of healthcare.
“I think that housing is an issue that is greatly connected because, like I said last week, if we don’t have places for people to live, then we can’t expect people to stay in the north.”
“I think we need to see the federal government invest more in affordable units and units specifically for frontline workers while also working with the private sectors to develop policies that incentivize new developments because when it comes to housing, we have shortages across the board – from affordable units to family homes and seniors' developments.”
Concluding his thoughts, Melillo said, “We really need a government solution that is aimed at addressing all of those things, it won't happen overnight, but we need to see that movement and I am going to continue to call for it.”