VON to provide 24-hour health care on Pelee Island

People on Pelee Island now have around-the-clock emergency health care provided by the Victorian Order of Nurses.

Deal only lasts until March 31

People on Pelee Island will have around-the-clock emergency health care provided by the Victorian Order of Nurses, but only until March 31.

It's the latest stop-gap measure taken in the absence of permanent health care on the isolated island.

Pelee Island Mayor Rick Masse said the VON signed an agreement with the provincial health ministry this weekend. The service was scheduled to begin Monday evening.

"Some coverage is better than no coverage," Masse said.

The island has 24-hour EMS service, but no on-call, urgent and emergent service until the VON arrives late Monday.

The Harrow Family Health Team had been temporarily helping out on the island for the past few months. Its contract expired on the weekend.

The LHIN's CEO, Gary Switzer, said Ontario's Ministry of Health will now produce a request-for-service proposal to find an agency to provide the island complete service, from a nursing station to on-call service.

For the time being, Masse is pleased with the current solution.

"The VON has a long history of providing care within our region," Masse said.

"I was confident we’d find a solution. I’m relieved," he said.

Andrew Ward is the executive director of the Erie St. Clair VON. He said it's the VON's mandate to serve places like Pelee Island.

"The VON's aim has always been to serve the hard-to-serve geographies within our ... areas and we recognize that the needs of Pelee island fits within that mandate," Ward said.

Ward said the Ministry of Health will provide more than $30,000 to fund the position. The VON will supply the rest. A total cost is not yet known.

"Everybody came together to make it happen," Switzer said.

Switzer said negotiations were only difficult because most of them took place during the holidays.

He said the ministry is now in possession of approximately 19 recommendations made by a joint task force created to solve the island's problem. Switzer said the request-for-service proposal will be based on those recommendations.