A notice to patients was posted as a bulletin on the RM of Bifrost’s home page on its website and in Arborg Medical Centre earlier this month, stating that there were rumours being circulated about Arborg’s healthcare and that they needed to be dispelled.
Ron Van Denakker, Chief Executive Officer of Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, told the Interlake Spectator that the IERHA is committed to physician services and that the clinic “isn’t going anywhere”.
“There was a memo that was printed up there talking about ‘the clinic will be located somewhere else’,” Denakker said, “so we posted something to the contrary and indicated that the clinic at the hospital, very much, will remain the clinic there.”
It was also noted on the bulletin that their long-time resident physicians, Dr. Donnelly, will be leaving the community, as of April 1, but that Dr. Akinpeul and Dr. Mann are accepting new patients.
The IERHA will continue to evolve the healthcare in Arborg, according to Denakker. “We are committed to growing primary healthcare beyond where we are today. At present, there are three doctors at the clinic, and we are continuing to recruit to get to a four physician complement,” he said. “I know there was a memo and that memo required clarification, so we submitted an additional piece of information just clarifying that clinic (in Arborg) is not moving, and that it will continue to serve the community after Dr. Donnelly leaves.”
Dr. Donnelly is a general practitioner that came to Canada in 1991 from Edinburgh, Scotland, and has lived in Arborg with his wife of over 40 years since 2006. He works part-time in Winnipeg at the Misericordia Health Centre, and part-time at the Arborg Medical Centre.
“I have been here for a long time,” Donnelly said. “The two things I have done was get on board with the Riverton (Group Home) service… I deal with a lot of their medical problems, and advise on their medical issues and I do the occasional home clinic at the assisted living home so that the old folks don’t need to go to the hospital or to the clinic, I go there. That’s something we didn’t do before. (I) also do minor surgeries that the other doctor’s don’t do, I’m the only one doing those.”
He speculated that it could be that his leaving was the source of the rumours mentioned in the bulletin, but he couldn’t comment as he hadn’t heard anything directly.
In a news release published on Feb. 1, Jeff Wharton, MLA for Gimli Constituency said that he is pleased with recent news that local residents are benefiting from a significant increase in physician coverage at local emergency departments.
“Our Progressive Conservative government is committed to ensuring Manitobans have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” he said.
The IERHA reported the number of hours covered by physicians at local emergency rooms throughout the region has risen considerably. In Gimli, that coverage has risen by 15%.
“In rural communities like ours, the new family doctors hired under our government has increased physician coverage in local emergency departments and reduced the number of non-urgent visits to emergency rooms.” Wharton said. “I am pleased that our governments plan to improve healthcare in our region is showing early signs of success.”