Burk's Falls fights to keep existing health services

·2 min read

A push by the Village of Burk's Falls to ensure services at the Almaguin Highlands Health Centre continue indefinitely is gaining support in the Highlands.

Several municipal councils have responded favourably to the Burk's Falls request including Armour, South River, Strong and Sundridge.

Muskoka-Algonquin Health Care (MAHC) provides the services at the health centre in Burk's Falls.

X-ray, laboratory testing and post-surgery physiotherapy are among the services that MAHC makes available at the health centre.

Burk's Falls town council says for years the local health centre has provided the space for the services at no cost to MAHC but in doing so the health centre has incurred an annual operating deficit.

Council notes that over the past 10 years various levels of management at MAHC have talked about discontinuing services at the health centre in Burk's Falls or reducing the centre's operating hours.

In an effort to end these talks Burk's Falls is requesting that the MAHC commit to continue the present services at the health centre indefinitely.

The town council has the numbers to back up the claim that the current services at the health centre are heavily used by local and area Almaguin residents.

In 2021 it examined a 19-week period and found that on average 43 people a day used the X-ray and laboratory services at the health centre.

Earlier this year it calculated the number of patients who used the x-ray and lab services over a 12-week period and found the average remained 43 people a day.

Council says the services play a critical role in helping to maintain the health of residents in the Almaguin region.

Sundridge Coun. Barbara Belrose, a member of the Almaguin Highlands Health Council, spoke to her council colleagues about the importance of supporting the Burk's Falls resolution.

“They're struggling to keep the blood lab,” Belrose told the council.

“Losing the blood lab will be a disaster.”

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget