Greater Napanee’s health care gifting agreement the gift that gives back

For a second week in a row, the Lenadco building was the place to be for a hot news story.

The previous week it was the arrival of the MRI machine, this time around it was the announcement of a partnership between the town and Kingston Community Health Centres. The long and short of it is a gifting agreement between the two sides means more health care providers will be available to residents in Napanee. Working as a team-based approach, doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners will be on hand to fill the gap for those who don’t have a family doctor. The technical term for those without a family physician is ‘unattached’. Those without a doctor would likely refer to it as ‘constant state of stress’.

This region got a jarring visual as to just how many people are ‘unattached’ when doctors in Kingston held a rostering event earlier this month. People camped over night out as lines stretched for blocks, akin to the days when the latest iPhone was released or yet another Star Wars remastering hit the big screen. While lineups for the latter are whimsical and easy for those on the outside to shake their head and laugh, a lineup to find a family doctor is nothing to chuckle about. The desperate measures people were wiling to go to in the hopes of obtaining one sent a clear message-there’s a crisis in this province.

That’s why the agreement between Greater Napanee and KCHC is fantastic news for the entire community. It’s a modern solution for a modern problem. Simple, yet effective. The fact is those who graduate with a medical degree have plenty of options when it comes to where they want to set down their roots and start their career. For well over a decade now Ontario municipalities have been doing their part to try to entice doctors to set up shop within their town limits. Much like a sports franchise trying to sway the star athlete to sign with their team, municipalities all try to outdo one another and offer the best incentives. Between physician shortages and competition from surrounding communities, it can be a tough sell. As much as someone who lives here might love this area, someone with no ties to Lennox and Addington could just as easily fall in love with the Muskokas, the big city, or an entirely different province-or country, if they’re looking to maximize their earnings.

Sharing resources is a much better option for all parties-the health care professionals included. By providing office space and support staff, the partnership will allow health care workers to focus on what they actually spent years and tens of thousands of dollars on while in school: treating sick people. The obvious flip side is sick people get easier access to the help they need for non-urgent medical issues that can become urgent if left untreated.

In a round about way, this new approach will likely be more successful in recruiting health care professionals than the more direct approach.

Anything that gets more people connected to health care is a massive win for everyone involved.

-Adam Prudhomme

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