Huge step for health care
Botwood mayor calls announcements positive for the region
BOTWOOD, N.L. – Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour is pleased with announcements about the future of health care in his community and region.
“To me it points out the commitment from the province to maintain this facility on an ongoing basis,” Sceviour said Tuesday, June 5 at a press conference held by the premier in Botwood. “Which is a big plus for not just our community, but for the 12 and 13 communities north of us, which are smaller communities. It’s the importance of primary health care still being held in rural communities.”
Premier Dwight Ball and the Minister of Health and Community Services John Haggie were two of many government and health officials on hand for a pair of announcements at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre in Botwood on June 5, where they spoke to the local health centre receiving a 20bed protective care unit extension,
with construction slated to begin in 2019. Along with the extension, the provincial government announced the launch of a new primary health care reform initiative in the community,
which involves working with frontline providers at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre to improve access to a variety of health care services.
As part of these services, Botwood
will be the first community to introduce remote mental health services using the provincial Telehealth system.
“Botwood now, in terms of how you access mental health care, will change,” he said. “You’ll be able to do that with Telehealth, using the primary health care team we have available.”
Ball called Botwood unique, and noted it has a broad range of health care professionals. He said his job is to bring those professionals together in a coordinated fashion to be able to respond to needs.
“Botwood is an ideal community for primary health care teams,” Ball said. “We’ve had a lot of success in walk-in sessions for mental health and counselling services in other areas of the province. There’s no reason to believe that Botwood is not ready for a new modern primary health care team.”
Sceviour said the continued expansion of health care in the municipality allows people who are moving to the area know that there’s primary health care available, which he noted plays a big part in the decision of taking up residence in a community.
“We see families coming into the area and frequently visiting their moms and their dads, their grandparents and whatnot,” Sceviour said. “And we just like to have an environment that’s compatible with what they expect, and I think this is what the province is moving forward with. It’s a positive, for this community and the region as a whole.”
Sceviour added the extension and launch of primary health care reform will have a tremendous boost to Botwood’s economy.
“People coming in just visiting is a boost to the economy,” he said. “But of course the construction stage will actually create some jobs, which is desperately needed since the closure of Abitibi (pulp and paper mill in Grand FallsWindsor) in 2009.”
Location, location, location
Along with the Botwood project, both Grand FallsWindsor and Gander will be receiving long-term care facilities. All together, upwards of 200 employees will be needed to staff the facilities.
The new 60-bed facility in Grand Falls-Windsor will be constructed on Scott Avenue, between Valley Road and the site of the former Abitibi Consolidated Mill, while the Gander facility will be built next to the College of the North Atlantic and be accessible via Magee Road.
“Residents of Grand FallsWindsor and surrounding communities have long advocated for a new long-term care facility that would enable health professionals to meet the demands of our aging population and allow loved ones to stay close to their families and friends,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour and MHA for Grand Falls-Windsor – Buchans Al Hawkins. “This new facility will compliment the quality care residents receive at Carmelite House and will greatly improve access to health care in the central region of the province.”
Premier Dwight Ball spoke to those in attendance at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre in Botwood on June 5.