Kenora MP and Shadow Minister of Northern Affairs, Eric Melillo, is fighting to bring more healthcare services and equal access to those services to remote, Northern and Indigenous communities in his riding.
“Far too often, residents of remote, Northern and Indigenous communities do not have the same access to basic healthcare services as the rest of Canada,” said Melillo in the House of Commons earlier this week.
A February, 2020 report from the Northern Policy Institute showed that in Northern Ontario, about 60 per cent of emergency room visits could have been avoided, and a major barrier to care is having access to a local healthcare provider.
In 2013, 200 specialist vacancies were reported in Northern Ontario. These vacancies included respirologists, gerontologists, neonatologists, cardiologists and infectious disease specialists.
“It’s important to note that in Northern regions of the country, particularly Indigenous communities, there’s been a chronic under-serving in healthcare delivery.”
“What does this government plan to do to ensure that residents in Indigenous and remote communities have access to all healthcare options, including palliative care?,” asked Melillo.
Palliative care is specialized healthcare for residents living with a serious or life-threatening illness, and the service provides relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Melillo also sits on the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs in the House of Commons. He recently spoke out against violence and racism in Nova Scotia related to the Mi’kmaq community’s lobster fishery.