A proposed community health centre to be located in or near downtown Peterborough, serving 6,000 marginalized people who do not have a family doctor, received unanimous support from Peterborough County council on Wednesday.
Members of the Peterborough Ontario Health Team gave a presentation (similar to one made to city council on May 10) to county council showing the need for a specialized medical clinic that would create a hub of health and social services under one roof to serve individuals who live with complex health needs.
A downtown hub would provide “spokes” of care in county areas in collaboration with the existing mental health and addictions mobile service of the Canadian Mental Health Association and existing hubs run by Community Care, council heard.
“I’m very supportive of this cause,” said Karl Moher, deputy mayor of Douro-Dummer Township. “I think most marginalized people in the county have had no choice but to move to the city because of lack of transportation, because of economics, because of many, many other reasons.
“Sure, we’d love to have them (clinics) in the county in or close to our home, but that’s not possible for them to receive the services they require. So I think this is an excellent project that has been a long time coming.”
The hub would serve people living with addictions, extreme poverty and disability.
It would also be aimed at providing care that meets the needs of newcomers, racialized individuals, Indigenous persons and individuals who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.
The health centre would be staffed with salaried doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers. Similar clinics exist in at least 40 other Ontario cities.
The Peterborough area has the fourth highest level of marginalization out of 42 cities due to its “high levels of dependency, material deprivation and residential instability,” a letter of support for the centre states
The Peterborough Ontario Health Team is led by a steering committee of local family doctors plus 11 organizations including the CMHA and Peterborough Regional Health Centre.
The group is applying for $7.6 million in annual provincial funding to run the health centre.
— with files from Joelle Kovach
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner