Access to Patient Care – Follow-up

Smiths Falls, ON – This is in follow-up to the initial media release prepared and circulated regarding the passing of Dr. Gan Murty and the subsequent actions to accommodate the residents with access to care. Subsequent meetings involving family physicians, representatives of the Town of Smiths Falls, Community and Primary Health Care – Brockville, the Merrickville/Smiths Falls Community Health Centre and the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital have been held. The recruitment of family physicians is a daunting challenge facing many rural communities across Ontario and Canada. The challenge of attracting family physicians will require an ongoing concerted community effort.

 The Smiths Falls Community Health Centre, the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Mayor Staples  and Bob Cheetham (Town of Smiths Falls),  CPHC (Community and Primary Health Care)  and other allied health providers are actively working together to find a longer-term solution to the shortage of doctors.   That solution will include finding the health professionals who want to work in our community and finding the facilities and the funds to attract and retain them.   Residents who absolutely need a doctor are encouraged to contact Health Care Connect. If you do not have a family doctor, Health Care Connect is the agency to phone. The Hospital is not able to assist with those inquiries. Health Care Connect is a Government of Ontario agency which helps people who are without a family health care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) to find one. Residents can use the web – to fill out a quick form with basic information in order to begin the process of finding a new doctor OR they can call the program at 1-800-445-1822 (available Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to begin the same process.

 Residents can also contact the following agencies:

  CPHC Mobile – 613-803-1710

 McNeely Clinic (Carleton Place)- 613-253-2233

 Smiths Falls Community Health Center – 613-283-1952

The Lanark Transportation Association (LTA) is reaching out to orphaned patients in the Smiths Falls area who need to see a doctor at the Carleton Place (McNeely) medical clinic. To book an appointment with the LTA call 613-264-8256 or 1-877-445-5777.The North Lanark Community Health Centre (NLCHC) is offering its service to “all parts of Lanark County that are north of Highway #7, and extends service to the parts of Frontenac County that are north of Highway #7” – 613-259-2182

Working together in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, we are making progress in reaching a longer-term solution while still addressing immediate steps that will ensure the availability of quality health care for all residents of this region.

Those steps include:

  • Receiving the assistance of Health Force Ontario in finding  short term physicians (locums) who will help in addressing the needs of residents
  • Using the services of Health Care Connect to find physicians who are accepting new patients
  • The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital will be introducing a physician recruiter position 
  • The Smiths Falls and Merrickville Community Health Centres are working on plans to expand capacity to accept new patients, in the meantime referrals from Health Care Connect are being considered. 
  • The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital and the Town of Smiths Falls are cultivating viable family physician prospect. 
  •  The CPHC Community Family Health Team Mobile Primary Health Care Unit, as of January 4, 2011, has added two (2) days/month to Smiths Falls for a total of five (5).
  •  The CPHC and the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital are collaborating with the intent of further increasing the number of days for the mobile unit service in Smiths Falls. This increase in service would assist in dealing with the challenges.
  • With the combined efforts of the Perth & Smiths Falls District Hospital, the Town of Smiths Falls (Mayor Staples) and other primary health care providers, we will focus on the needs of those who do not have access to a family physician both in the short term and long term.
  • Longer term, we know that the best way to recruit new doctors is to offer “turn key” space in a professional medical building – one in which a new doctor simply needs to show up and begin their practice, rather than having to burden themselves with additional debt, purchasing equipment, etc.. We remain hopeful that just such a facility can be built locally in the near future that will help us recruit the physicians we need.  
  • We are meeting with the South East Local Health Integration Network for the purpose of soliciting their assistance.
  • Appealing to the MOHLTC (Ministry of Health and Long Term Care) in an attempt to have Smiths Falls categorized as Underserviced.

“The Town of Smiths Falls is working with a dedicated team of healthcare providers, the private sector and our partner communities in an attempt to resolve both the short and longer term needs of the community,” said Bob Cheetham, Manager of Economic Development.

We all remain positive that the situation will improve.

For more information contact:Todd Stepanuik, President & CEO

613-283-2330 ext. 1130  













Great War Memorial Site
33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Smiths Falls Site
60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2H9
Tel: (613) 283-2330

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