During this decade there were many family physicians practicing in Tilbury. If you were living in this area, these really were the “good old days” as far as having a family doctor.
Things changed quickly. Doctors relocated and by the mid-1980s, this community was designated as “underserviced” in terms of our access to family physicians.
The mayor of Tilbury in 1993, Bryon Fluker, began to approach service clubs, politicians, and really anyone who would listen about this “health care crisis.” In Bryon’s home town of West Lorne, a new Community Health Centre was being funded by the provincial government. Community Health Centres were staffed not only by physicians but also by other health care professionals. The Tilbury Times on July 14, 1993 reported that, “A committee brought together by Mayor Bryon Fluker will investigate the need for a community health centre In the face of a growing concern over primary health services in the Tilbury area. Formed this spring, the committee has been meeting over the past several months to organize themselves and set a plan of action.” Could a Community Health Centre be the answer for the Tilbury district?
It appeared that a Community Health Centre could indeed be the solution we were seeking and the Steering Committee submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health for the development of the Tilbury and District Community Health Centre.
Two new centres were approved in 2001 and the Steering Committee optimistically decided to re-write their proposal.
A second proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Health. The Tilbury and District Medical Recruitment and Retention Committee was formed. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent hired a medical recruiter but unfortunately, another family physician moved away from this community.
Good news in 2003. Two Nurse Practitioners were approved for Tilbury/Lakeshore as part of the Nurse Practitioner Demonstration Project. They opened their practice in the Tilbury Information and Help Centre. The Tilbury and District Medical Recruitment and Retention Committee is able to recruit a doctor to replace a family physician that wished to retire.
Representatives of the community attend information meetings about a new provincial initiative to provide better access to doctors, nurses and other health professionals – Family Health Teams!
The vision of a Family Health Team seemed to be exactly what this community needed and wanted — better access to primary health care, so the community rallied again and submitted yet another proposal. The third time proved to be the charm and on April 15, 2005, the Tilbury District Family Health Team was approved!
Much behind the scenes work however needed to be completed before the Family Health Team could open its doors. A very detailed business plan had to be written and approved, budgets developed, a temporary site selected and renovated, staff recruited but finally… on September 18, 2006, the Tilbury District Family Health Team did open its doors at 16 Queen St. S. in Tilbury.
More good news was to follow. A new location for the Team on Mill St. W. was selected, architectural plans were drawn and approved and construction began.
In September of 2007, the Tilbury District Family Health Team was relocated to a new 10,000 square feet building which has been designed to support the Family Health Team vision. It is fully furnished to meet the needs of all members of the Family Health Team and the people they serve.