There has been a positive update on the RLMCMH Emergency Department closure situation.  

The Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital (RLMCMH) announced earlier in the week that due to physician and staffing shortages, they were going to be forced to close the Emergency Department for a 12-hour period this evening, July 7. Thankfully, that will no longer have to happen.  

In an update from the hospital, it was shared that a LOCUM doctor stepped up and agreed to cover the ED for the 12 hours that it was supposed to be closed.  

RLMCMH stressed that although this closure was avoided, more closures will most likely happen in the future as the physician shortage continues across the region.  

They stated that they will continue to exhaust all options to avoid any closures.  

Sol Mamakwa, MP for the Kiiwetinoong riding, commented on the closure before the situation was resolved, "It is unacceptable that in a province like Ontario, thousands of Northerns are being left without life-saving care.”  

“This is made worse because this closure is not a surprise – we anticipated it. Therefore, we should have been prepared for it.”  

Mamakwa encouraged the government to take a close look at ways they can help to relieve the medical staff of rural medical facilities that are facing these shortages. Mamakwa suggested that the government: 

  • Work with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) to create a system of incentives to recruit physicians to northwestern Ontario.  

  • Incentivize internationally trained physicians to work in the North by expediting their ability to gain their license.  

  • Work with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) to incentivize postgraduate trainees to complete their residency in northern Ontario.  

He concluded by saying “I urge the government to undertake these actions immediately. It is no exaggeration to say that the lives of northerners are in jeopardy.”