Minto council supports health team bid for funding to bolster primary care access

MINTO – The Town of Minto will provide a letter of support for the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team’s (MMFHT) application to the province for funding to expand staffing to allow more local residents to access primary care providers.

In a letter to council, the local family health team explained the government recently announced the availability of new funding to expand existing inter-professional primary care teams (such as Family Health Teams) “in communities with greatest need.

“The Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team is in the process of developing an application to increase the number of nurse practitioners at the FHT,” states the letter, signed by MMFHT executive director Shirley Borges.

The health team is looking for funding to add two nurse practitioners, one registered practical nurse and one receptionist “for the purpose of attaching orphan patients living in Minto and surrounding area with a primary care provider,” Borges explains in the letter.

The letter states each new nurse practitioner will service 700 to 800 patients currently without a family doctor or nurse practitioner, for a total of 1,400 to 1,600 patients. 

“Given the departure of Dr. (Doyin) Okoye [last June], physician recruitment challenges across the province, and the increasing population growth in Minto, we are experiencing a significant increase in the number of unattached patients in our community,” the letter points out.

“These unattached patients are seeking treatment at our local emergency department.”

If successful, the health team is planning to locate the new staff at existing MMFHT facilities in Clifford and Palmerston.

A letter of support from the local municipality is required for the application.

“I do know that our Minto Mapleton health team is really pushing hard for this,” said Mayor Dave Turton, noting the addition of nurse practitioners to the local roster would be helpful,

“We have not had much luck in recruiting a doctor.”

Guelph Wellington application

Council also agreed to support an application from the Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team (GWOHT) for funding for additional staffing.

In support of the Ontario Health Team mandate to improve the health of its attributed population, Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team partners are “contributing to efforts to build onto our existing strong, team-based primary care teams,” states a letter to council from the GWOHT.

The letter states local primary care teams will be bolstered “by better integrating supports and services into primary care so that all patients in Guelph Wellington experience one care team that can address all of their health care needs.

“This is especially important to, and focused on, those in our communities who have the most difficulty accessing care,” the GWOHT letter notes.