Community health centre idea explored

Service gaps to be identified in review

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By Salt Spring Community Health Society

Dr. Marcus Greatheart, in his presentation at the Community Health Society’s Town Hall meeting on May 27, shared his perceptions of how a community health centre could complement Salt Spring’s existing health services.

Greatheart is a family physician on the staff of Three Bridges Community Health Centre in Vancouver. His patients include those with complex problems of aging, mental health, drug and alcohol dependency, and gender and sexual identity issues. With both a master’s degree in social work and a medical degree he is exceptionally well qualified to work with such complex patients.

Greatheart’s training included time on Haida Gwaii, where he learned much about issues within the First Nations community. He also did a family practice rotation at the former Kings Lane Clinic.

Three Bridges CHC includes a team approach with physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers and consultants, all available to give comprehensive services. Visits are typically scheduled for 30 minutes. A CHC is funded to have a range of health service practitioners. It allows for walk-in patients by building that time availability into the daily work schedule, thereby taking considerable pressure off the emergency room.

Having both fee-for-service and CHC practitioners available on Salt Spring would greatly enhance the range of services for the island’s diverse community. By having a CHC, our family doctors would also have additional referral resources for their patients.

The May 27 town hall was sponsored by the Salt Spring Community Health Society as part of our effort to fully involve the community in planning for health services to fill community-identified gaps. The results of a recent interview project concerning gaps in health care on Salt Spring were discussed. With the help of a CRD Grant in Aid, SSCHS has contracted with Wave Consulting to conduct a full community health needs survey. The results of this survey will be presented at a community town hall in September.

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