Provincial And Federal Government Join Forces With Local Communities To Improve Hospital Services For Aboriginal People In James Bay



    Historic Agreement Paves Way For Weeneebayko Area Health Authority

    MOOSE FACTORY ISLAND, ON, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - The tri-party agreement signed
by the province, federal government and local leaders today will help improve
the health of the James Bay Aboriginal communities by paving the way for the
Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, said George Smitherman, Minister of Health
and Long-Term Care.
    "This momentous agreement will help to bring high-quality health care
services to the people living on the James Bay coast," said Smitherman. "The
new Weeneebayko Area Health Authority will serve the 11,000 residents of this
coastal area to ensure they can access the best possible care, closer to
home."
    The government is supporting the merger of the federal Weeneebayko
General Hospital and the provincial James Bay General Hospital. The
Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) will integrate provincially funded
health programs such as acute care emergency, dialysis, diabetes, community
mental health and physician services with federally funded First Nation health
programs such as primary care and community health services.
    "This is a great day for people of the James Bay coast communities," said
Kashechewan First Nation Chief Jonathan Solomon, who Chaired the community
Steering Committee. "We are delighted the government is supporting the
amalgamation of these two hospitals to create a single health-care system that
will better serve the needs of the people in the Mushkegowuk Territory."
    Since August 2005, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been in
tri-party negotiations with the Steering Committee's negotiation team and
Health Canada to develop a legal agreement. This new agreement supports a
framework for the establishment of a single health-care organization for the
James Bay coast area.
    This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have
achieved results in health care services for Aboriginal communities in the
province. Other initiatives include:

    
    -   $6 million per year for expansion and enhancement of long-term-care
        community support services in First Nations communities;
    -   $5 million per year enhancement for Aboriginal mental health programs
        to provide community-based services for people with serious mental
        illness;
    -   Providing an additional $1 million per year to support the
        implementation of the Aboriginal Diabetes Strategy;
    -   An additional $5 million per year for the Aboriginal Healing and
        Wellness Strategy, to which the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
        contributes over $25 million annually;
    -   $250,000 to the Institute of Aboriginal People's Health/Canadian
        Institutes of Health Research to support research on the prevention,
        identification, and/or treatment of cardiovascular disease or mental
        illness in Aboriginal women in Ontario.
    

    Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three
priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing
better access to doctors and nurses.

    This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte
stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.
    For more information on achievements in health care, visit:
www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca.

    Disponible en français.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Jeff Rohrer, Minister's Office,
(416) 326-8016; David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416)
314-6197; Members of the general public: 1-866-532-3161

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Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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