Frustration is building in Mallorytown.
When the town’s only walk-in clinic closed in February, there was talk about getting new health professionals to fill the gap.
But, the village is still waiting.
Angie Cowan has been fighting for health care in Front of Younge Township since late last year, when she learned provincial budget cuts would lead to Mallorytown, the township’s hub, losing its only free walk-in clinic.
She says that since the clinic closed in February, things have only continued to get harder for people living in the rural area.
“We now have to go to a private clinic, where we don’t even have a nurse, or we have to go to emergency,” she said.
Cowan isn’t in this battle alone. Numerous people who used to use the clinic’s services, along with Front of Yonge Township council are pushing the province.
Front of Yonge Township mayor Roger Haley says they were elated in February when MPP Steve Clark said that Mallorytown would be first on the list for funding for a new clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner, but almost 10 months later, the fully ready clinic remains empty, and the people of Mallorytown unserved.
“If the announcement was made today that we had the funding, we still have to hire somebody, so this could be months down the road before we find someone,” said Haley.
Now, between waiting and the lack of action from the province, Haley, Cowan and the hundreds of people who Haley says used the clinic, frustration is mounting.
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“We’re just being told ‘Oh, we’re reviewing the applications, we’re reviewing the applications,’ and … nothing,” he said. “I just can’t understand. It’s unfathomable that they could close a clinic that is completely ready. How they could close it, I just can’t understand it.”
However, this week in the Ontario legislature, a face known to many Kingstonians took a stand on behalf of those fighting for health care in Mallorytown, as Kingston and the Islands MPP Ted Hsu spoke out.
“More people and more complex problems continue to crowd the Brockville emergency room. How many times is this kind of thing being repeated in rural and northern Ontario?” said Hsu in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
A welcome bit of support, but without action on the township’s application for a nurse practitioner-led clinic from the spring, all they can do is wait.
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