Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority – Update On Physician Services

Update on Physician Services

January 20, 2010

Since the Anishinabe Health Plan was finalized in 2006, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) has been working to carry out the plan and develop a Primary Health Care system. SLFNHA wishes to share some of the recent developments in physician services for First Nations communities in the Sioux Lookout area.In 2006, the Sioux Lookout Zone Chiefs mandated SLFNHA to negotiate a regional physician services model under First Nations governance and management.

From this, the Sioux Lookout Negotiations Team was developed, led by a chief negotiator. The team is made up of members from SLFNHA, Hugh Allen Clinic Family Health Group, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Sioux Lookout Zone Family Physicians Association and First Nations Family Physicians and Health Services.

The work of the team resulted in the Regional Services Delivery Model for physician services. After discussion in the fall of 2009, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) presented a final offer for a five-year agreement under the guidance of a new non-profit corporation, with the first year being transitional.

The new corporation will have shared governance between SLFNHA, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) and physician representation. Once the new corporation is established, they will work with all stakeholders to complete a long-term agreement.

The board will consist of three members from each group. During the transition and establishment of this corporation, there is one member from each group: Dr. Terry O’Driscoll representing SLMHC, John Cutfeet representing SLFNHA and Dr. Jon Morgan representing physicians.

This five-year agreement acknowledges the need for increased physician services in the communities as well as a single clinic model in Sioux Lookout for all First Nations to enhance access to hospital services.

The Sioux Lookout Zone Family Physicians Association (SLZFPA), which provided services to 25 of the Sioux Lookout Zone communities, dissolved their corporation effective December 31, 2009.

As a result, on January 1, 2010 SLZFPA support staff and their roles were transferred to SLFNHA. These employees are now a part of SLFNHA’s Primary Health Care Unit, which is currently based out of the SLMHC 7th Avenue site and SLFNHA’s main office. SLFNHA is working towards establishing a permanent and suitable building for the unit.

During this time of transition, SLFNHA also continues its role in the Sioux Lookout Area Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, which was established in early 2009. The Recruitment and Retention Committee, comprised of SLFNHA and stakeholders, will continue to develop and carry out recruitment strategies.

With SLZFPA dissolved, the physicians who continue to work in the Sioux Lookout Zone have signed letters of agreement with MOHLTC and SLFNHA. Scheduled community clinics and hospital coverage continue and we anticipate that physician services in all communities will not be disrupted.

For more information about physician services and the Primary Health Care Unit, please contact:

Janet Gordon, Director of Health Services
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority
Tel: (807) 737-6101 Toll Free: 1-800-842-0681

Irene Dube, Communications Officer
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority
Tel: (807) 737-6124 Toll Free: 1-800-842-0681

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