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Region helping Lakeridge with three new nurses

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Lakeridge Health will be getting three new nurses on the region’s dime.

At their most recent meeting, Durham Regional Council voted in favour of adding three new nurses to Lakeridge Health’s staff.

The new nurses will assist police in crisis intervention and de-escalation of mental health related situations.

Currently, Lakeridge has two nurses on staff trained to help Durham Regional Police with crisis intervention and de-escalation of situations requiring mental health stabilization, assessment, and access to treatment.

It’s recommended the three nurses be included in the 2021 budget at a cost of approximately $150,000, including salary and benefits, per nurse.

All councillors but one voted in favour and wanted to add the nurses to the 2021 budget.

“I see the region is wanting to get into things that are not really in its core responsibilities,” countered Clarington Councillor Joe Neal.

Neal believes Lakeridge Health and not the region should pay for the three nursing positions.

“Our core responsibilities are things like roads – which some of them aren’t being properly maintained,” he says. “I’m sure the popular thing is to say yes to this, but I don’t support it. If it’s that important, Lakeridge should be paying for it.”

However, Oshawa’s Ward 5 representative Brian Nicholson says he has a different view on what core services for the region are.

“The people of our community are core to everything we do,” he says.

Nicholson says he “applauded” the region when the two nurses were brought in previously, and says he believes the region should do anything it can to help residents with what they need.

Ward 3 Councillor Bob Chapman also expressed his approval toward adding the three nurses, and notes there’s more to the region than meets the eye.

“Sometimes you have to think outside of the box that we think we should be in,” he says.

Council also instructed staff to continue to explore the expansion of the Primary Care Outreach Program, with staffing needs and requirements to be a part of the 2021 budget.