A new effort is underway to bring healthcare to people who live in rural and remote parts of Muskoka.

Community health hubs are now set up across the district.

“They’re so necessary because we’re not close to the city or a town,” said Torrance resident Carol Egan.

The three year pilot project will enhance access to primary care in rural and remote communities by establishing hub sites in Dorset, Port Carling, Port Severn and Wahta First Nation.

“If they didn’t have access to the health hubs, they probably would not access health care at all,” said nurse practitioner Deana Strength. “Because its close and it’s easy they will do it.”

There is also a mobile unit that can provide services to additional rural, remote and vulnerable communities like Ryde, Port Sydney and Severn Bridge.

“We’re literally bringing the clinic to them, so they only need to go down the street in order to come and get the primary care services,” said nurse practitioner Jennifer Grando.

“The project provides a unique opportunity for primary care and community services partners to work together to achieve better health outcomes for residents and visitors to Muskoka,” explains Lynn Sharer, Executive Director of the Algonquin Family Health Team and Chair of the Muskoka Health Hub Implementation Committee.

Staff and resources are paid for by the province, but people who live in these communities have put in more than $3 million to pay for the facilities.

“Community support for the project has been overwhelming and we are working diligently to ensure all project resources are maximized,” said Sharer.

With the project up and running, the focus shifts to tracking its success and demonstrating to the provincial government that it’s effective and needed in the communities.