Letters – Our readers write: Summer 2007

Letters published in the Summer 2007 edition of In The Hills magazine.

June 21, 2007 | | Back Issues | Summer 2007

Story prompts neigh-saying

While we were eating al fresco at the round bale, your article “Therapeutic Riding” in the spring issue was the topic of discussion. See, we’ve been detecting a little resentment and jealousy from the workers and volunteers who contribute their time and efforts to the success of the riding program for troubled youth at Ms. Ellen Downey’s farm.

What the hay is going on here? At first it was subtle, late dinners and cleaning that was not up to its usual par. Now, my nails haven’t been manicured for weeks and we’re noticing sneers and flared nostrils as they walk by. (They look really funny when they do that.)

I was quite flattered to see my name in print as one of Ms. Ellen’s soldiers and appreciate the adulation; however, if something isn’t done soon, I’m afraid of the ongoing consequences.

For the love of shoes, would you please pacify the humans by giving them their fifteen minutes of fame, and maybe a red ribbon, by printing their names (at least in small print) so we can get back to our normal routine. (Do you know how much we hate change?)

Ms. Brett Jaggard and Ms. Gayle Rey have been with us for four years now, and Ms. Vicki Holdroyd since the dawning of the program. Mr. Wayne Biegel, who works with me, has been here for the last three years, and we’ve just recruited Mr. Chris Tompson, who helps teach the kids.

Your trusty steed, Flash

Family Health Teams aim to improve patient care

As a local family doctor, I am writing to thank you for including the timely feature, “You and Your Doctor,” in your spring issue. I do have something to add to this topic.

Your article notes that the estimated average annual income of a family doctor is $277,000 per annum. You have neglected to indicate that this income is before office expenses have been paid out. Practice expenses will consume anywhere from 35 to 50 per cent of gross annual income.

It is important to note that changes in the remuneration of family physicians over the last few years have encouraged family physicians to work in groups. The fact that we are now Family Health Networks has made it easier for us in Orangeville to recruit and retain family physicians. Graduating doctors are attracted to clinic settings, especially if they have the new funding schemes available to them in the new groups. Also, this new remuneration scheme helps us retain physicians that we were losing to the United States and Alberta over the past several years.

I would agree with Dr. Cole on many of his points, especially that good prevention takes time. I would disagree that the new blended capitation model provides any more  incentive to expand roster size.

The new Family Health Team model will go a long way toward improving the preventive services in chronic disease management that should be offered in primary care but that physicians cannot do now because they have neither the time nor the training. Improvements in primary care will be contingent upon the strong involvement of patients in their own health-care management. This is where the strengths of the allied health care professionals will come into play.

Our new work plans have started. The new Dufferin Area Family Health Team has already hired its first mental-health worker and nutritionist. Our Family Health Team includes most of the physicians in Orangeville and Grand Valley. We will be basing our programs on models that have a proven track record elsewhere and we are confident we can improve outcomes with our new team.

C. Mallin, m.d.

Lead Physician, Dufferin Area Family Health Team

A healthy response

Thank you for including my wife, Sarah Carvalho, and me in your spring issue. I didn’t realize how many of my patients were reading your magazine until, on an almost daily basis, the article “Second Time Around” by Tony Maxwell was mentioned. Conversation about the interview also came back to me from friends as far away as Toronto (who had the article read to them over the phone by their friends in Caledon).

“You and Your Doctor” by Tony Maxwell and “Finding and Keeping” by Michele Green were excellent overviews of the health system in Dufferin County.

Dr. Don Mickle, Grand Valley

Where have all the chipmunks gone?

A question for your wildlife expert – perhaps Linda McLaren!

We have lived here in the hills for more than thirty years – and in all these years we have enjoyed the antics of plenty of chipmunks running in and out of their many holes. This year we have yet to see a single one! Also squirrels (the brown, the grey and the black) seem rare this year. Is there an explanation for this?

Helmer Lessing, Caledon

Linda McLaren responds:

If this gentleman is pining for the sight of a chipmunk, he should come to my place. There were at least two stuffing their cheeks under the bird feeder this morning and several more driving the dog nuts with their whistles in the woods.

I cannot claim to be able to unravel the mysteries of the comings and goings of wildlife, but it is fun to speculate. Most habitats are in a constant state of change which can make them more or less inviting to a particular species. Also, a thriving community of any species inevitably comes to the attention of predators – in the case of chipmunks, perhaps weasels.

I applaud Helmer for his observant nature. Many people never notice such changes right under their noses. As of now I have heard of no reason to fear for the general demise of chipmunks and anticipate that a new family will move to his area soon.

Historical Accuracy

Please note that the Patullo wall should read Pattulo (“Putting Caledon on the Map,” spring ’07).

Fay McCrea

Heritage Caledon

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