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  • Writer's pictureIan Adams

‘It’s a major, major problem for people’: Simcoe County residents face challenges getting primary care, health panel told

Ontario Health Coalition holding panel hearings across province on challenges facing small and rural hospitals.

By Ian Adams Barrie Advance

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra speaks during a panel hearing on health care hosted in Barrie, June 11, as Ontario Health Coalition member Brenda Scott looks on. Ian Adams Metroland

There is a lack of equitable access to primary health care in Simcoe County, a panel looking at the challenges facing Ontario’s small and rural hospitals has been told.

The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) panel on protecting and improving local hospitals made a stop in Barrie, June 11, as part of its month-long across-Ontario hearing schedule to hear from the public about the issue.

But the 10 presenters who spoke to the panel during the two-hour hearing in the Angus Ross Room of the Barrie Public Library also brought up their challenges of getting a foot in the door of the system in the first place.

Ken Robertson of Collingwood told the panel of his recent experience with his primary care physician who moved her practice from Barrie to Midland. When the call was put out for people to apply to be rostered with her, the line-up went around the building.

“I was shocked, but not surprised,” Robertson told the panel, noting there was no assurance his application would be successful.

Robertson’s story, and others, came as no surprise to OHC’s executive director, Natalie Mehra, who is also a member of the panel.

“Across the board, we’re hearing about primary care,” Mehra told “That’s the front door of medicine: family docs, nurse practitioners, family health teams. It’s a major, major problem for people, (and it’s) particularly bad in Simcoe County.”


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