By Kathy Johnson
(Published in the Tri-county Vanguard)
There is good reason to celebrate the new primary heath care centre in Sandy Point, which has already attracted one primary health care provider to the area and has just upped Shelburne’s game for physician recruitment.
The opening of the $3-million facility was celebrated during an open house on Feb. 12.
Among the speakers was Bob Legere, Chair of the Roseway Hospital Charitable Foundation who told the crowd the idea for a new clinic “started as the brainchild of the original doctor recruitment committee, thinking it would be a great recruitment tool, as well as a way to keep up with the evolutionary path that primary health care delivery and practice was taking.”
“We have now arrived here on that road… The collaborative practice clinic will provide Shelburne County residents with better access to physicians, nurse practitioners, family practice nurses and visiting specialists,” said Legere. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. This project has been a success.”
Jodi Ybarra, Health Services Manager for Roseway Hospital, said while it’s taken longer than initially hoped to build the clinic, “we knew we had to get this right for our providers, their patients and the community.”
“This new building was designed to be a more appropriate space for the family practice team to collaborate and work together to serve their patients. It is also expected that having a new health centre will help us in our efforts to recruit new providers to the community. And it is already working.”
Nurse practitioner Maria Ceschiutti, who joined the family practice collaborative team last fall, said knowing that a modern clinic like this was in the works and was going to be completed soon was a very big part of her decision to move my family and I to Nova Scotia from Ontario.
“As a nurse practitioner, I really believe this clinic will allow us to provide a better experience for our patients. This is also a wonderful space for the providers to work together, collaborate, and share our ideas on improving the health of our patients and the community.”
Funding from the Municipality of Shelburne, the Town of Shelburne, the Roseway Hospital Foundation and the Department of Health and Wellness supported the project.
The new health care center is “a lot bigger, nicer and more suited to our needs,” said Dr. John Keeler during a tour of the facility.
“The other space wasn’t meant to be clinic and office space. It was just a wing of a hospital, so it was very difficult for administration staff to get people signed in, the sightlines weren’t very good. They weren’t offices, they were patient rooms,” he said. “This is a space specifically for a collaborative practice. It’s a lot better for staff, providers and patients. It’s more efficient, Now I have a dedicated space to do procedures so now I don’t have to use or book hospital space to do procedures. Again, its more efficient and easier for patients.”
The health care center is totally wheelchair accessible and has room for a growing team, said Ceschiutti.
“If Dr. Keller has a resident, there’s space for them and any future residents or students,” she said, noting nurse practitioners and family practice nurses now also have the space to mentor and take on students.
“With this space we will be able to take more medical students,” said Dr. Keeler. “Before we just didn’t have the space. Having more students at an earlier stage in their career being exposed to rural practice is going to be helpful.”
The Shelburne Primary Health Care Clinic is still accepting new patients, but people must be registered on the Need a Family Practice provincial registry.
Ceschiutti said its important for people to make sure they are on the list, and if they’ve been on it for a while, they have to make sure their correct contact information is provided and update it if need be.
“If someone has cancelled or changed their home phone number or if they have changed cell numbers, we have no way of reaching you, so people need to be pro-active and go in there and make sure their information is correct.”
To register with the Need a Family Practice provincial registry, call 811 or visit: https://needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca