Community health clinic group pleased with plans for CCH third floor
Almost 11 years ago, former Mayor Bob Brown began a campaign to convince the provincial government and Horizon Health Network that St. Stephen and the region needed a community health centre to complement services at the Charlotte County Hospital.
Today, he said he is pleased with the decision to establish a clinic on the third floor of the CCH, a move announced in September of last year by the provincial health department. At that time, health minister Victor Boudreau, said he expected the clinic would be operational by the end of the calendar year. No announcement of an opening date or what services it will provide has yet been made public.
But Brown said this clinic is what he and committee members, including co-chair Tony Bastow, have worked for years to attain.
“I am extremely pleased,” said Brown. “I’m extremely pleased Horizon and the province are working collaboratively to open a clinic. The name may have changed, but the purpose is the same – to provide primary and preventative health care.
“It’s an extremely positive step forward and complements what the hospital already does.”
Where to put a community health centre was the biggest decision a local group had before them, as they campaigned the government and Horizon Health Network for support.
Brown said his suggestion had been to open a clinic in the old Milltown Legion, on Milltown Boulevard. However, the legion building was sold to a church group which has since renovated the property. The building also serves as a community centre for the area.
Brown said the idea of a community health centre stemmed from the knowledge doctors today want to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams.
He said the committee envisioned a clinic that would also greatly assist in the recruitment of doctors. “Newer doctors coming out they want to practice health care. They don’t necessarily want to be running businesses and paying employees,” said Brown. He said doctor recruitment remains vital to the community, noting at one point the town had 10 doctors, eight of whom were over the age of 60.
“A community health clinic is about the future and is supposed to complement the hospital,” Brown stated.
He recalled when the committee first began its push for a clinic, it also spoke out about what it felt was the under-utilization of the hospital’s two operating rooms.
“We felt the ORs should be used to their fullest capacity. It looks to me like the battle of the ORs was lost even in my time.
“I knew back then when Tom (Goulding) retired there would be no other surgeon coming,” said Brown.
The former mayor said he feels the announcement of this clinic is the first step in the growth of health care, including preventative health care in the region. “I envision 10 to 15 years in the future a clinic with four or five doctors, a nurse practitioner.
“The fact we have it and there is space for is it’s a very positive thing for health care in St. Stephen and western Charlotte.”
Brown also noted his committee “will not function anymore.”
“We aren’t going to be pushing this much further. It’s happened and we’ve been waiting a long while for it to happen.”
He did say however, there continues to be a need for a local committee to assist in the recruitment of doctors for the town, providing information on schools, recreation and quality of life.