July 29, 2020
Honourable Cameron Friesen
Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living
Room 302 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Re: Ensuring critical health services are available for Leaf Rapids residents
Dear Minister Friesen,
I am writing to you today to express the need for the health centre in the community of Leaf Rapids to remain open. It has come to my attention that residents have been told they are no longer able to access any health care services in the community due to the closure of the only health clinic until August 10, 2020.
There are hundreds of people living in Leaf Rapids, including elderly people along with others who live with multiple health issues. On top of this, we can see the number of COVID-19 cases are rising in Manitoba. It is unacceptable that the Northern Health Region has decided to close the health clinic rather than finding staff to keep it running to provide critical health services that may mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
You may be aware that the road leading into Leaf Rapids is in extremely poor condition. This, along with warnings of high water in the community, may impact the ability of residents to travel to Thompson or Lynn Lake for treatment in an emergency. There is only one ambulance available to serve the entire community of around 500 residents.
I am requesting that the Province of Manitoba, on behalf of Leaf Rapids, reinstate health services for this Northern Manitoba community immediately. I am asking you to ensure that a physician and team travel to Leaf Rapids to ensure the health clinic is operational. I look forward to hearing back from you on this urgent matter. Please contact my Assistant Clyde Flett by phone at 204-390-2702 or by email at [email protected].
Grand Chief Garrison Settee
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
cc: MKO First Nations
Minister Eileen Clarke, Indigenous and Northern Relations
CEO Helga Bryant, Northern Health Region