Director of the coming Oceanside Health Centre, Sheila Cruikshank, spoke to the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce Wednesday night as part of her community engagement efforts.
“This is the third presentation I’ve made today,” she told the 30 people present at the Old Dutch Inn.
With a Power Point presentation she gave a brief outline of the progress, map of the site and floor plans of the facility, which she announced will open by July 1, 2013.
She admitted the communication and community engagement has not been as good as it should have been in the early stages and they are trying to correct that.
While affirming many things that have already been announced, she gave some new details on things such as the inclusion of some fir and cedar wood in the building that came from clearing the site.
They are making progress securing lab and imaging services and a request for expressions of interest for a pharmacy will go out soon.
She also broke down some of the services that will be offered in more detail giving examples that they will be able to deal with things like wound care, scheduled ambulatory procedures, simple skin cancer, changing casts, carpel tunnel operations, but reiterated that major traumas and things like heart attacks may be stabilized there, but will be moved to Nanaimo as quick as possible.
She walked the audience through the example of John Smith, a fake name for a real 78-year-old with lung disease who lives alone in Oceanside. She described his current situation of frequently taking the ambulance to emergency in Nanaimo for things that the new local facility will be able to help with.
She said she is very excited about the single point of entry, integrated care approach and extensive use of technology such as teleconferencing and monitoring that will be used as a pilot project for the province.
There will be 30 home telemonitoring units coming to the area as soon as this fall to begin helping with home care of patients.
Asked where they will get the doctors to staff the facility in an area known to be lacking, Cruikshank said they already have two confirmed and are in talks with two others and the facility will in fact help recruitment.
New doctors are being trained in integrated health care and prefer centralized facilities over establishing their own individual practices, she said.
Watch the VIHA website at www.viha.ca for more information including a continually updated Q&A and the Power Point presentation Cruikshank gave.