Huge step for health care

Bot­wood mayor calls an­nounce­ments pos­i­tive for the re­gion

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Front Page - BY JOR­DAN MALONEY

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.”

JOR­DAN MALONEY

Premier Dwight Ball spoke to those in at­ten­dance at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Cen­tre in Bot­wood on June 5.

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