May 21, 2022 – Cornwall is starting to reel at the loss of a critical health service. The McConnell walk in clinic, situated right next to the hospital, is shutting down leaving thousands of area residents at a loss for healthcare and surely what will add more pressure to hospital emergency services.
Cornwall, a failing community with less than 40,000 residents, lost one of its hospitals with promises of more services under the roof of CCH. Sadly that has led to less medical services; mixed in with a loss of general practioners, and under Covid, less doctors working from Quebec and what you have is near chaos.
While the city had enacted a $25,000 giveaway for new doctors it clearly has not been effective. Cuts to some services now seeing some clinics charging a fee for service.
Advances in tele medicine are not happening quickly enough, and mental health services are in crisis as well as pedological services in the Cornwall area.
So who’s fault is this? Well mostly if you’re reading this it’s you. Most people don’t see healthcare as a truly important issue until they need those services. This writer has been writing about our healthcare crisis since this newspaper started in 2009! Sadly most people seem to just not care, or at least enough to take any action.
With one of the highest aged populations in the province this is a recipe for disaster. Diabetes, high blood pressure, basic medical check ups, and follow ups are all being neglected. When a patient does get care many times they get referred to services as far as Ottawa and Kingston which adds to suffering, especially if you’re being treated for Cancer, of which Cornwall has some of the highest rates (hidden in the Ottawa data, but bloating the Ottawa numbers provincially!).
Just getting basic answers can be a trial for the average person.
The loss of productivity impacts the economy and community. The human suffering is simply a crime. How many people’s conditions worsen or result in death when basic care would alleviate their situation? Preventative care costs far less than emergency visits and dramatic care.
The situation was bad during the Liberal government when the riding had a Liberal MPP. The current MPP has been utterly ineffectual as well. It’s not a partisan issue, and frankly it should be the most important issue in the area.
Why did the Clinic close? A big reason is for years Cornwall had an advantage in that many Anglo Quebec doctors could do shifts in Cornwall and not have to deal with a Quebec system that was restrictive to them because of language and red tape. Covid has changed that with Quebec doing what it could to get many non pure laines doctors into their system.
Contrary to the mopes at City Hall Cornwall simply has failed to attract talent and investment of consequence. Instead of buying old bank buildings to convert to unwanted Art Centres why wouldn’t those dollars be spent on health facilities to incentivize doctors coming to Cornwall?
It’s not about Rich doctors wanting free rides. It really isn’t. Most doctors earn less than half of what EOHU corrupt and incompetent mess Paul Roumeliotis earns, and doctors are literally making life and death decisions daily.
It’s about the healthcare systems across Canada being so weak that Doctors, like nurses, and other fields, can pick where they want to work. A community like Cornwall has to be proactive and aggressive to attract healthcare workers. Lip service doesn’t cover it.
When the Cornwall General was decommissioned it was allowed to be sold to a private buyer for approximately $2 million dollars! It was insane that the city didn’t purchase the property and focus on leasing it out to healthcare providers. Instead it appears they’ve been waging a petty war against the private owners and now, in 2022, the property is probably worth over $20 million dollars.
This area needs a full team press, from City Hall, to Queens Park, demanding a focus on healthcare and support. It should be criminal in Canada to not be able to get a doctor, even one on video. It should be criminal for someone desperate to get a prescription filled to not be able to get one. And having people with mental health issues not be treated simply is tragic and hurts the entire community.
The bigger picture also is that many people will not move to a community with poor health services which impacts growth. Right now Cornwall’s mix of a lack of housing and clear lack of medical services is something that people should be fired for.
It’s time for change….but this writer knows sadly that change won’t happen, because you simply don’t care enough.