Raising the curtain

Jeff Elliott
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Strait of Belle Isle Health Centre opens in Flower’s Cove

Flower's Cove Clinic

“This is a modern, well-equipped, state-of-the-art building with significant advancements in the delivery of health services for everyone in the area,” said Labrador-Grenfell Health CEO Tony Wakeham of the new Strait of Belle Isle Health Centre in Flower’s Cove.

Staff members were eager to help facilitate the move, which began on Jan. 20, and the transition was flawlessly completed within a few days.

“A relocation plan was put together and, while we were challenged one day with the weather, we were able to do it on time,” said Wakeham. “The staff at the centre should be commended for their efforts in facilitating this, and in seeing clients while responding to emergency situations as they arose during the transition period.”

The new building is 13,000 square feet – a 72 per cent increase in size from its predecessor – and the augmented space, according to Wakeham, is to accommodate key places such as the emergency room, a conference room, and a Telehealth facility.

“It has the same services as the old building but in a much larger, more modern environment,” he said.

Some of the other long-term benefits, he acknowledged, are the “things that matter” when occupying a building 24/7, such as energy efficiency, including the heat and recovery equipment, as well as improved air circulation.

All in all, he noted, there have been few delays in services as a result of the move.

“When we move from one facility to another, it’s like opening a brand new department – particularly with radiology and lab services,” he said. “For example, in moving our x-ray equipment to the new facility we had to have it validated by a physicist to ensure that everything was in good working order.”

The laboratory services are currently going through a similar series of validations with the new equipment in Flower’s Cove, which could take anywhere from three to four weeks.

Wakeham described that extra blood samples will be taken in Flower’s Cove for the purpose of sending to St. Anthony for results.

“We take the results from the machine in St. Anthony, compare them to the results from the machine in Flower’s Cove, and then send them to a hematologist at Eastern Health and they then verify and sign off on the results,” said Wakeham.

“Over a period of time, as we run a series of these tests on the different types of equipment we have, we know we are getting the same results and we can then say we don’t need to do duplicate testing anymore.”

He ensured that this is proper protocol in terms of accreditation and quality checks.

“It’s all part of the process,” he said. “It should be completed in the next few weeks … once we’ve had enough series of tests, and they’ve been confirmed without discrepancies, then we will be able to say that we’re confident with the results that are getting reported off the equipment in Flower’s Cove.”

The contract for construction for the new centre was awarded in January 2011 and deficiencies ranging from defective flooring to a concerning plumbing system delayed the original opening.

A year later and after many complex issues, an official opening of the $9 million facility is set to take place in the coming weeks.

An exact date has yet to be confirmed.

The health clinic will offer ambulance services, physician clinics, dental clinics, visiting specialist clinics, laboratory and diagnostic services, as well as valuable services for mental health, public health, and home care needs.

Organizations: Strait of Belle Isle Health Centre, Telehealth

Geographic location: St. Anthony

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