Erie Shores announces expansion on Pelee Island


Welcome news for residents on Pelee Island.

Erie Shores HealthCare has announced an expansion of services that will continue throughout the winter. 

The Windsor-Essex Mobile Medical Support team will be on Pelee Island one day per week, commencing November 8 through to December 12th.

Officials say they will offer a wide range of medical services, including COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, cancer screenings, and health assessments. 

Then starting on November 13, the Pelee Island Nursing Station will be staffed by a dedicated nurse who is a resident of Pelee Island three days a week. 

Officials say the increased local presence ensures that residents and visitors have access to quality healthcare services right on the island. 

CEO of Erie Shores, Kristin Kennedy, says the Pelee Island nursing station holds a special place in their healthcare network.

"We are deeply committed to providing the residents of Pelee Island with convenient access to quality healthcare services. Our team is prepared to serve this unique and vibrant community, building upon the exceptional work done by the VON," she added.

Mayor Cathy Miller says this all came together fairly quickly, after some disruption in services near the end of the August due to staffing challenges with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON).

"VON provided committed service to Pelee Island for years, and we're grateful to them for that. But the time came where they were kind of dealing with some insurmountable challenges and they were going to be making some changes. So everything kind of came together much to our relief, and Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health committed to the funding to support Pelee Island," she said.

The Mobile Clinic will be on the island every Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. as long as the ferry is in operation.

Miller says Erie Shores has released the interim plan for both the mobile clinic, and nursing station, which will take them through to the spring.

"A little bit more of a substantial plan will be rolled out at that time, but this has come together quickly in response to the fact that we go to winter air service December 12. And we have a lot of seniors that are challenged to be able to hop on a plane and run to the mainland for primary care. We need that here, so we're just really grateful that need has been met."

She says it's a permanent commitment for the island, but things like expanded hours and services will be part of the more robust plan in the spring.

Miller adds that for just about anything on Pelee Island, from healthcare to trying to run a restaurant, staffing is an issue.

"We're fortunate we've got a nurse that lives on the island that's going to be able to lead the clinic three days a week through the winter. And then hopefully there's some more plans to expand the hours and do what's needed. I think we're in a really good situation and I'm really grateful to Kristen Kennedy at Erie Shores. Because she really responded quickly to this, heard what was needed and addressed it," she said.

Erie Shores officials say the interim plan is a proactive first step while they continue to work in partnership with Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health on a comprehensive care model for Pelee Island.