New urgent care clinic in Minden to open July long weekend

By Kirk Winter

Area residents who gathered early on to stop the closure of the Minden Hospital ER. Instead, a clinic has opened there instead.

Residents of Haliburton and north Kawartha Lakes are still trying to digest a recent announcement from the Kawartha North Family Health Team (KNFHT) and the Ministry of Health stating an urgent care clinic will be opening at the site of the former Minden emergency department effective June 30.

This clinic, run by a nurse practitioner and registered practical nurses, will initially open weekends only until it is fully staffed. Local residents will get to see the clinic in action as it opens for its first long weekend, from June 30 to July 3, seeing patients from Noon-6 pm. The clinic will accept both walk-in patients and patients who have called ahead for an appointment. The clinic is not equipped to deal with emergency situations and will not have a doctor on staff. The clinic is expected to be similar to the ones that KNFHT already operates in Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon.

Reaction to the announcement has been mixed in north Kawartha Lakes and Minden Hills, as reaction on social media shows.

“I fully support the opening of the urgent care clinic,” said Corinne Lavric, “just not as a replacement for the Minden ER. The ER must be re-opened.”

Natalie Ko expresses concerns about the difference between this clinic and a full-fledged emergency department which the area had until it was closed on June 1 with only six weeks warning by the Haliburton Highland Hospital Service (HHHS).

“Walk-in clinics can close, reduce hours or change hours. Clinics can be closed for staff illnesses and are not available for the two weeks over Christmas. For an ER to close the Ministry of Health needs to be notified and all efforts are made to keep it open.”

“I am glad the urgent care services are coming,” said Jackie Brooks-Gavan, “but I can’t think this hasn’t been the provinces’ goal from the beginning. Sometimes you create a crisis to achieve a new normal.”

Joyce Webster, one of the moderators of Save Minden Emergency Room website said, “The urgent care facility is a start. The Minden ER still needs to come back. This is a Band-Aid solution but a good start.”

Christine Leo Markussen expressed a concern heard throughout the community when she said, “They (HHHS) have taken away our car and replaced it with a bicycle.”

Patrick Porzuczek, one of the driving forces behind the Save Minden Emergency Room movement, suggested that the opening of the urgent care unit “does not negate the Progressive Conservative government from their duties. Health care should be their top priority especially in rural Ontario.”

“The Minden Emergency Department is an essential service for the community,” Porzuczek added, “and its closure has had a significant impact on the residents of Minden and surrounding area. The Minden ER must re-open stronger and better.”

In 2022, the Minden Emergency Department, operating 24 hours a day seven days a week with a doctor always on staff, saw 14,228 patients, a full 38 percent of that total from Kawartha Lakes.

There is real concern at Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Lindsay about where those patients will now go and how many of them might be able to be seen at Minden’s new urgent care clinic that, in a normal week, will only be open 12 hours in total.

One long time Ross staffer, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the hospital, told the Advocate that, “while the urgent care facility due to open in Minden will certainly see some patients, there is a real concern amongst staff at the Ross that many who need assistance on weekends after 6 pm will add to the numbers in our ER that are frankly approaching concerning levels.”

“We are also aware that at least for right now the new Minden clinic does not have staffing to cover patient care during the week,” the source said, “and those patients previously seen by the ER in Minden are expected to migrate our way in considerable numbers.”


  1. Maybe Lindsay needs a walk-in urgent care centre, too, preferably within the Ross facility. The Minden ER was too often used as a walk-in by residents with no primary healthcare provider. Non-emergency visits take up the majority of time and money at many ERs in Ontario. Having a walk-in urgent care within the Ross facility would help relieve the added stress Lindsay can expect from the Minden ER closure.

    I really doubt the Ford government planned to create a new normal by initiating a crisis – I mean, how did they do that? Bribe the HHHC board members?

    While it is true that the decision was poorly communicated by the board, it was their decision; it had nothing to do with the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, desired demonizations notwithstanding.

    MPP Laurie Scott and the North Kawartha Team responded to the closure by working really hard to open the urgent care centre in Minden. They deserve our applause not mean-spirited conservative-phobic paranoid false accusations.

    Well done, North Kawartha and Ontario. Upwards and onwards!!

  2. Marc T says:

    Had the HHHC received adequate funding from the Ontario PC’s as it always has, then this never woulda happened. But then privatization would be harder to justify. It hard that some ‘choose’ not to see this. Only silver lining is that this will he our last PC government.

    Article rings true, we had a medical issue this week, typically went to minden in the past, but Lindsay was lucky enough to get our biz now, and in the future. Wait times already increased noticeably. Driving to the haliburton site is further than Lindsay, & half the time they send us there or Peterborough. anyway.

    I just hope the extra 40 min drive doesn’t kill one of us.

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