Investment is Part of Historic $222 Million First Nations Health Action Plan
Sioux Lookout Region Health Care to improve access to culturally appropriate health services and improve outcomes for Indigenous people.
Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Aug. 11, 2016, at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre as part of her week-long trip to more than a dozen communities across the North. This investment is part of Ontario's First Nations Health Action Plan, a historic commitment to take action on health care for Indigenous people.
The plan includes a number of initiatives in the Sioux Lookout region, including:
- Providing $3.3 million to increase physician services by 2,641 days for the 28 First Nations communities in the region
- Investing $1 million to create more hospital beds for seniors' care at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre
- Supporting seniors' services such as access to housing and culturally appropriate home and community care
- Establishing a new family health team to provide more primary care that is culturally appropriate
- Appointing a permanent Associate Medical Officer of Health dedicated to Indigenous health for the region.
In addition, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre will receive more than $290,000 in infrastructure funding. Ontario's First Nations Health Action Plan will invest nearly $222 million over three years to improve outcomes for Indigenous people and ensure they have access to culturally appropriate care. The plan will focus on the North, where there are significant gaps in health services. Ontario will follow this investment with $104.5 million in annual ongoing funding to address health inequities and improve access to health services for the long term. The government will implement and evaluate the plan in close collaboration with Indigenous partners, to ensure that the investments are culturally appropriate and effective.
Investing in the health and wellness of Indigenous communities is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province. It is also part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says, "Our government is taking action to ensure that high-quality health care is accessible in Indigenous communities. Through Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan, we are working with Indigenous partners to improve access so we can make a real difference in the health outcomes for Indigenous people in the Sioux Lookout region — and across the North."
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, says, "This investment demonstrates to the people of Ontario that our government is committed to ensuring First Nations communities have equitable access to health care no matter where theynlive. We will continue working together with First Nations partners to address the social determinants of health and achieve sustainable and lasting change."
David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, says, "The expansion of services announced today will help improve health, healing and wellness for Indigenous people in the Sioux Lookout region. By working closely with First Nations partners, this investment will help meet care needs through culturally appropriate services and programs. This is an example of how reconciliation can help make a difference in the lives of everyone in Ontario."
According to the news release, the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre serves about 30,000 patients per year from Sioux Lookout, the Nishnawbe-Aski northern communities, the Treaty #3 community of Lac Seul First Nation, Hudson, Pickle Lake and Savant Lake. Indigenous people in Ontario experience lower health status on average than other Ontarians, including shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality and higher rates of chronic and infectious diseases.
Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan targets investments in five key areas: primary care, public health and health promotion, seniors care, hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support. The news releases says Ontario acknowledges the key role of the federal government in health services for First Nations, such as nursing stations and medical transportation, and looks forward to working together in partnership with all concerned.