Bancroft is supporting Hastings County’s call for the province to develop a strategy to improve primary care in rural communities.
Mayor Paul Jenkins says the town, much like other rural municipalities, needs an influx of all kinds of different health care workers.
“Not just doctors,” he said. “We need nurse practitioners and nurses. If you look at [recent rural hospital emergency room] closures, whether it’s in Perth or Minden, yes, the doctor shortage is there, but there’s a nurse shortage, too. It’s all levels of health care. [The shortage of workers] is going right through the health care system.”
At a recent meeting, Bancroft council approved sending a letter to Health Minister Sylvia Jones. The letter was to echo the message of a similar letter from the County.
The Bancroft letter said “Primary Care is an essential service which is rapidly deteriorating in small urban and rural communities, making health care inaccessible for our stakeholders.”
The Hastings County letter to the province notes the County has a Family Physician Recruitment Program (which gives financial incentives for doctors to set up practices), but it’s not enough.
“We recognize that primary care extends past family physicians,” the letter says. “In order to tackle these challenges, we need near and longer-term strategies.”