Efforts Ongoing to Address Resident Needs to Primary Care

Smiths Falls, ON – The ad hoc committee formed to review and discuss possible solutions to the existing physician shortage issue in the Smiths Falls area met again recently to determine its progress and next steps. As mentioned in previous releases, the committee has the involvement and support of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Community & Primary Health Care, Town of Smiths Falls, Merrickville & Smiths Falls Community Health Centres, surrounding municipalities and local family physicians.

All participants at the recent meeting arrived with ideas and news to keep up progress in terms of short term and longer-term solutions. In an effort to keep the residents of our catchment area informed on matters relating to accessing health care, we are pleased to offer the following information.

Health Care Connect helps Ontarians who are without a family health care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) to find one. People without a family health care provider are referred to a family doctor or a nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients in their community.

The service has been created by the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care to assist unattached patients (persons without a family physician) in locating a family health care provider and to access family physician services without presenting to the Emergency Department.

To access the services of Health Care Connect, simply call 1-800-445-1822 or go on-line to:

www.ontario.ca/healthcareconnect. Please note that registering with this program does not guarantee that that a family health care provider will be found for you, so you are encouraged to continue your own search. Health Care Connect does not provide health care advice, service or treatment. The program attempts to locate those services for you.

The Smiths Falls and Merrickville Community Health Centres are working closely with the Community Care Access Centre and the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital to identify older adults with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes and arthritis who do not have a family doctor. People recently hospitalized with these chronic conditions and without a doctor, are a priority to receive care. The Community Health Centres have also identified pregnant women or women with newborn children as a priority and they will be offered the services of a Nurse Practitioner with little or no wait time.

The North Lanark Community Health Centre (NLCHC) continues to offer its service to “all parts of Lanark County that are north of Highway #7, and extends service to the parts of Frontenac County that are north of Highway #7” – 613-259-2182

The participants in the recent meeting were pleased to learn that progress is being made in terms of two new medical service clinics. While still at the proposal stage, it was discussed that a turnkey office will be developed in the Town of Smiths Falls to accommodate family physicians. Dennis Staples, Mayor, Town of Smiths Falls noted that the office space will go far in the physician recruitment process as the availability of turnkey office facilities is typically the deciding factor when negotiating with interested physicians.

The second facility would offer the services of a nurse practitioner to the community. Nancy Unsworth, Nurse Practitioner commented that all is in order and her group is awaiting the final go ahead from the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care. It is anticipated that this facility will be up and running by the fall 2011.

The committee discussed long term solutions and options for not only recruiting family physicians but sustaining an optimal physician complement in our community. A task force will be struck to delve into the issues regarding long-term community recruitment efforts. The committee will be apprised of the representatives from the Town of Smiths Falls, Smiths Falls & District Chamber of Commerce, the medical community, Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital and Health Force Ontario. This group will be lead by Bob Cheetham, Manager of Economic Development for the Town of Smiths Falls.

Lobbying efforts continue for additional funding in support of the temporary measures in place such as the additional days offered by the Community & Primary Health Care mobile unit. To contact the unit, please call, CPHC Mobile – 613-803-1710.

Residents can also contact the following agencies:

The Lanark Transportation Association (LTA) is reaching out to orphaned patients in the Smiths Falls area who need to see a doctor at the Carleton Place (McNeely) medical clinic. To book an appointment with the LTA, call 613-264-8256 or 1-877-445-5777.

McNeely Clinic (Carleton Place)- 613-253-2233

Smiths Falls Community Health Center – 613-283-1952

Representatives from both the municipal and health care communities are working cohesively towards sustainable and accessible health care for all residents in our community.

For more information contact:

Todd Stepanuik, President & CEO

Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital

613-283-2330 ext. 1129




Great War Memorial Site
33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Smiths Falls Site
60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2H9
Tel: (613) 283-2330

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