IROQUOIS – It’s a blow to healthcare services in the Municipality of South Dundas.

The ownership group with the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic (SLMC) announced last week it will be ceasing operation of its Iroquois site by mid-July.

In a notice sent out to patients and local media, officials with the clinic noted that the “medical profession in Ontario has been under strain. We are having difficulty recruiting new physicians, as are many rural areas in Ontario. At the present time we do not have enough physicians to operate three facilities nor is it economically feasible for the clinic to do so.”

The current Iroquois operation will be consolidated at the Morrisburg space on the main floor of the village’s municipal centre. Appointments will cease as of Mon., July 15.

Laboratory services will also be halted by early September, given the clinic can no longer afford to privately fund the service.

To offset the change, the team of doctors is looking to launch after-hours service later this year for urgent care appointments.

No matter, it’s a body blow for the municipality, which has been working with the clinic to bring new doctors to the region.

“We are extremely disappointed with the closure of the Iroquois clinic,” Mayor Steven Byvelds said. “It is upsetting, and we will have discussions with the clinic on the implications to South Dundas.”

To spur the physician recruitment effort, the municipality is teaming with neighbouring South Stormont, which has a SLMC site in Ingleside, to lead a new committee to entice doctors to the area. Byvelds ensured details would be revealed in the coming weeks.

“Despite this setback, we will continue to work with our doctors,” he said. “We are fully engaged in attracting new medical talent and services to our region, as well as working in partnership with the clinic.”