Citizens in a Sudbury neighborhood are still waiting for a health centre to open that was promised back in 2005, partly because the province has delayed government funding, a city councillor says.
Councillor Claude Berthiaume said the province is supposed to provide close to $700,000 in funding for the Chelmsford Clinic, but hasn't done so yet.
He says he spoke to doctors who are interested in coming to the area, but have moved on because of the delays.
"We're losing opportunities ... we're losing possibilities for doctors to come to our area," Berthiaume said.
But the executive director of the City of Lakes Family Health Team — which has opened three other clinics in the region — said there must be doctors committed to working at the clinic before there is any funding from the provincial government.
"[We] definitely would have liked to have had it open by now," he said. "In Chelmsford we'd like to be able to attract at least three physicians to that site."
Courtemanche said the health team is focusing on attracting local doctors from Laurentian's medical school.
Business community chips in
Currently the three other clinic-based health teams serve a total of 16,000 patients in the region. If a fourth clinic were to open, another 4,000 patients could be served.
Berthiaume said the doctor shortage in Chelmsford has prompted local business people to pay into an incentive fund aimed at attracting new physicians.
The business community in Chelmsford has raised nearly $20,000 to try and attract doctors to the Sudbury neighborhood.
Berthiaume said there are only three doctors in the area and one of them works part time. He noted it’s been difficult to attract doctors to Chelmsford, which is located on the outskirts of Sudbury.
"The community has been working hard at it," he said. "Hopefully we see some results from the Ministry of Health."