Brighton lends support to health care initiative for local military families

·2 min read

Brighton is supporting an initiative that could bring a nurse practitioner clinic to the area to provide primary health care services for Bay of Quinte region military families.

After hearing from the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) during a presentation at a recent Brighton council meeting, council asked staff to pen a letter expressing its endorsement of the clinic.

In her presentation, Tamara Kleinschmidt, Trenton MFRC’s executive director, highlighted a few reasons why such a clinic is needed. She said Canadian military family members move often, experience regular family separation and frequently have loved ones at risk.

Military families do not receive health care services through the Department of National Defence. They access the health care they need through the same channels as Ontario civilians.

“Because of the number of moves and the other factors of the military lifestyle, this really does put them at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing primary health care,” Kleinschmidt said. Twenty-seven per cent of military families in Ontario do not have access to primary health care and that statistic for the civilian population is at 15 per cent, she noted.

“The angle is to provide all military families and veterans with consistent access to primary care.”

The Trenton MFRC is working in partnership with VON Canada on the initiative.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Coun. Ron Anderson. He asked about the funder of the initiative and the intended location of the clinic. The proposal is being submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for funding and the goal is to have the clinic located near 8 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Quinte West.

Coun. Doug LeBlanc also expressed his support for the clinic.

“I see the need because Brighton has a huge military family that (is) still active and a huge, retired military family still living here in Brighton that could use this,” LeBlanc said.

If approved, the nurse practitioner clinic would remove 3,200 patients without primary care from the local Quinte region health care system, which would reduce the burden on local resources, Kleinschmidt noted.

Access to primary health care is an issue overall in Brighton. In the summer of 2020, prior to a new family physician joining the Lakeview Family Health Team, there were 1,050 people on the Health Care Connect waitlist and not all residents without a family doctor are registered with Health Care Connect. Stay tuned to the Brighton Independent for an update.

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News