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Chatham-Kent and Essex Deemed High Needs Areas for Doctors After Nicholls Raises Local Concerns

March 10, 2016

Queen’s Park – MPP Rick Nicholls is pleased Ontario’s Health Minister has listened to his calls for Chatham-Kent and Essex to be deemed high needs areas for physicians, which will help the region attract doctors.

“In my mind, we have had a high need for physicians in this area for years now. I’m glad the province is realizing the challenges we are facing and are changing their policy. It will mean more doctors will be available and that’s great news for our region,” Nicholls said.

Chatham-Kent and Essex have long dealt with doctor shortages and have gone to great lengths to attract physicians to the area. Despite ongoing challenges, the province did not classify the area as high needs for doctors which meant that additional resources to tackle the problem would not be made available.

Nicholls listened to and spoke with several doctors who voiced their frustrations with the Liberal government’s policies as they attempted to set-up practices in Chatham-Kent.

With many doctors set to retire in the coming years, Nicholls brought the issue directly to Minister of Health and Long-term Care Eric Hoskins.

“For all intents and purposes, Chatham-Kent is a high needs area. Residents are having an increasingly difficult time finding primary health care and this problem will only get worse over the next few years unless immediate action is taken,” Nicholls stated in a letter he hand delivered to the Minister.

Nicholls attributes this development to the positive working relationship he shares with the Health Minister despite belonging to different political parties.

“To deliver for your constituents you have to be willing to work with the other side to get things done. People expect and deserve cooperation when it comes to their health care, it’s that important,” Nicholls said.

For more information about Ontario’s program for areas of high physician need, visit http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/highneed/