CARBONEAR, NL — The Carbonear General Hospital is anticipating some major changes coming over the next little while.
On Tuesday afternoon, June 12th, the Carbonear General Hospital saw plenty of politicians, health care professionals, and other staff gather on the third floor for a major announcement regarding the future of the building and services provided by the hospital – the biggest of which was the announcement of an upcoming ambulatory care centre for the hospital.
This new space came as a part of the 2018 provincial budget, released earlier in the year. There, it was announced that $3.2-million was to be allocated to the Carbonear General Hospital for the implementation of an ambulatory care space, set to be located on the third floor where and old cafeteria had originally been located, but has since been moved to another, more suitable location. This comes as part of a larger goal of moving long-term care to one facility. The entire initiative saw provincial government budgeting approximately $5 million.
Premier Dwight Ball made an appearance at the hospital that afternoon to officially announce the upcoming changes. He said that a contract has been awarded to advance the design work of the space, which comes to just under $600,000.
“The first step will be the process of preparing the area for the new construction,” he said. This construction is set to take place this summer.
“(The ambulatory care space) will provide more efficient, more accessible services for people receiving outpatient care. This new site will provide healthcare professionals with the space to carry out their important work, therefore enabling them to provide a high quality of care for people in this region.”
Ball went on to explain that the re-development is hoping to improve a number of things, such as waiting space, and privacy for patients and visitors alike.
On top of this, Ball announced the opening of 28 additional long-term care beds, located in the Pte. Josiah Squibb Memorial Pavillion. This brings the total number of beds at the relatively new building to 228.
“These are significant improvements that we’re seeing, making sure that we have plenty of long-term care services provided,” said Ball. “We all know that we have many people that are actually in acute care centres, when the appropriate place is in long-term care.”
Ambulatory care spaces offer a number of services to patients, with endoscopy and chemo therapy being some of the more significant services mentioned Tuesday afternoon.
The upcoming changes are a welcome improvement for many staff and healthcare professionals working at the hospital. Dr. Peggy Tuttle, a general surgeon at the hospital and Clinical Chief for Rural Avalon with Eastern Health said that the announcement paints a picture of a bright future for patient care at the hospital.
“I think it’s a great announcement for improved patient care. The fact that all of our services for ambulatory outpatient stuff will be offered in an area that’s condensed, and everyone will have access to it. That’s a lot more efficient, a lot more time-saving and cost-saving at the end of the day,” she said. “A family member that can come in and do, basically, a one-stop-shop at the hospital? That’s amazing.”
For surgeons such as Tuttle, this improvement means a more accessible work environment as well. She explained that she usually works on all eight floors of the building. This means that patients may have to do a lot of up-and-downs between floors throughout the run of a day, and while the new ambulatory care unit won’t provide patients and surgeons with everything they need in one location, it will still make services such as chemotherapy a much easier process.
The $3.2-million allocation in the 2018 budget will mostly cover construction costs, and the costs associated with re-development and renovation. This portion of the project is estimated to take the majority of 2018, as Health and Community Services Minister John Haggie previously explained to The Compass, with a completion date estimated for the end of 2019. The majority of the equipment necessary for such a space, such as endoscopes and stress-testing machines, are already present at the Carbonear General Hospital.