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New home for community-based health services opens


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NEW GLASGOW – The Pictou County Health Authority officially opened the doors to two new buildings that prove teamwork is key to providing quality health care.

The authority’s new Community Health Centre welcomed local dignitaries and PCHA staff into its new location at 690 East River Road, in the former Convergys building.

“We have created a support structure here where people can work together,” said health authority CEO Pat Lee. “This marks the end of two years’ work and it really is a dream come true.”

The Community Health Centre is home to community-based programs such as addictions, public health and mental health services, all of which were previously located in various parts of the Aberdeen Hospital and the Aberdeen Professional Centre.

The authority’s pain clinic is also in this building while in a neighbouring building on the same lot is the Eastside collaborative practice clinic and the diabetes education centre. The collaborative practice is currently home to four family physicians, a dietitian, nurse practitioner, social worker and support staff.

“Our patients and clients, along with our staff and doctors, are enjoying the benefits of working in modern, accessible and convenient buildings,” said Lee. “Community-based programs are better situated outside of an acute care hospital.”

He said the centre fulfils some of the recommendations contained in the health authority’s master plan, Healthy 2020: Pictou County, which provides a picture of what the health authority will look like in the year 2020. One of the recommendations in the plan is the demolition of the Aberdeen Professional Centre which no longer meets the needs of the health authority and it is too costly to upgrade. The health authority will continue to decommission the building during the fall and plans to demolish by the spring of 2011.

Nova Scotia Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the Community Health Centre is about providing the right health care, in the right place at the right time.

“The opening of these modern facilities is a milestone in community-based health care in our province,” she said. “This centre and the services it offers helps to further our vision of the future of health care in Nova Scotia – the development of community-based care, as well as hospital-based treatment.”

Patrick Mullally, manager of public health services for PCHA, said the community health centre will allow people to have access to a wide range of services without ever having to leave the building.

“We use the term ‘one door’ because clients should not have to knock on different doors to get their needs met,” he said.

Dr. Melanie MacCara, of the Eastside Collaborative Practice, echoed Mullally’s comments saying days of a doctor travelling home to home with her black bag are over; instead, patients can benefit from the teamwork involved with such a modern-age practice.

“The collaborative model enables us to work together as a team and come together for our patients,” she said. “Change is scary and different for both the patients and caregivers. A year ago when I signed the contract I did have some apprehension but as the year progressed and as we started working out the kinks and educating patients, I feel empowered by the positive energy.”

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