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First Nation blesses site of the new Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre

April 25, 2014

PORT HARDY – The Kwakiutl First Nation held a blessing ceremony at the site of the new Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre today as a part of a sod-turning held to officially mark the start of construction.

“This centre reflects government’s commitment to ensuring safe and stable community-based health care that best supports the needs of residents in rural B.C.,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Once complete, this new facility will enhance access to quality health and wellness care for Mount Waddington residents.”

Representatives from Island Health, the Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District and the District of Port Hardy were among those who gathered at the site with Hereditary Chief George Hunt and the Kwakiutl dancers and singers.

“On behalf of Island Health, our partners and all the people who will use this facility, I would like to thank the Kwakiutl people for blessing this site,” said Don Hubbard, Island Health Board Chair. “We value the partnership we share with Aboriginal communities and it’s because of this collaboration that the new centre will be a welcoming, culturally appropriate environment.”

The new Port Hardy Health Primary Health Care Centre is the result of the hard work of the Mount Waddington Health Services Local Working Group (LWG) in partnership with Island Health. The LWG, consisting of representatives from local and regional governments, local communities, physicians, First Nations, Island Health and other stakeholders, was formed in 2011 to develop and implement strategies to create a sustainable health care system and improve the health of local residents.

Through the LWG recommendations and efforts, a new Integrated Primary Community Care service delivery model has been adopted. The new model will provide stable and predictable primary health care in the area. The first step toward this is building a modern, integrated facility in Port Hardy.

The new Centre will benefit clients by providing them with easier access to integrated primary and community care services. It will also assist with recruitment and retention of physicians and other health professionals, provide space for physicians, nurse practitioners, visiting medical specialists and visiting community practitioners such as a regional dietitian and diabetes educator.

“The Centre will reduce the pressure on the Emergency Department at Port Hardy Hospital,” said Dr. Ron Hiebert, Medical Director, Rural Health Services. “The majority of daytime walk-ins can safely be seen in a modern clinic rather than an emergency department.”

Cost of the project is approximately $2.6 million, cost-shared between Island Health, through the Province of British Columbia and the Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District.

“The new Centre will be such a great asset to our community and to all the people in Mount Waddington,” said Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham. “We are grateful to Island Health and the LWG for their work that will, ultimately, benefit us all.”

Dave Nelson of Port McNeill-based Norkan Construction was the successful proponent to be construction manager for the project following a Request for Qualifications process. The majority of project sub-contractors will also be local firms.

“This is such a positive move forward,” said Alison Mitchell, Senior Manager for Mount Waddington. “The new Centre will help attract and retain high-quality health care providers. People will want to work here.”

Site preparation and construction will begin in early May and the facility is slated to open in late 2014.

“Reaching this step is the result of hard work and commitment by Island Health and many local residents,” said Dave Rushton, Chair of the Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District. “We are pleased to be a funding partner in this important project.”

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Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre key dates

November 2011: The Mount Waddington Health Services Stabilization local working group, comprised of community, the Mount Waddington Health Network, First Nations, Regional District of Mount Waddington, municipalities, physicians and Island Health representatives was established to develop a community-led plan to strengthen and stabilize health services in Mount Waddington.

March 2012: The Local Working Group submitted its report and recommendations to Island Health in March 2012, and the health authority responded to the recommendations in July 2012. To read the report and Island Health’s response as well as recent newsletters, visit: http://www.viha.ca/about_viha/community/mt_waddington.htm

One of the key recommendations of that report called for the creation of two Integrated Community Care Facilities in the region starting first with a facility for Port Hardy, followed by a second centre in Port McNeill.

May 2013: A draft functional plan for the facility was created by the User Group – nurse practitioners, general practitioners, medical office assistants and First Nations representatives.

September 2013: Island Health posted a Notice of Intent to negotiate the purchase of property adjacent to Port Hardy Hospital to provide North Island residents with improved access to primary health care. Initial plans called for construction of an addition to the existing Port Hardy Medical Clinic.

January 30, 2014: Construction of a new facility was preferred over an option that had been considered to add to the existing Port Hardy Medical Clinic on Thunderbird Way. The new building can be constructed without disrupting functions at the existing medical clinic and allow for close proximity to the hospital for clinicians. It also allows for expansion to include integrated community services for the region.

March 2014: Dave Nelson of Port McNeill-based Norkan Construction, was the successful proponent following a Request for Qualifications process for a construction manager for the project .

April 25, 2014: A blessing of the land and ground breaking ceremony takes place at the building site.

May 2014: Construction begins

Late 2014: Construction is scheduled to be completed.

The new Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre is phase one of a fully integrated primary care centre that will allow patients to access a range of services in one location and promote increased collaboration among multi-disciplinary care providers.

The new Centre will benefit clients by providing them with easier access to integrated primary and community care services. It will also assist with recruitment and retention of physicians and other health professionals, provide space for physicians, nurse practitioners, visiting medical specialists and visiting community practitioners such as a regional dietitian and diabetes educator.

The new facility will support efforts to recruit and retain physicians and other health care providers to the region. The improved access to primary care at the new centre is also expected to reduce demand for services at the emergency department of Port Hardy Hospital.

The design of the facility will allow for future expansion to support a broader range of services as Island Health strives for increased integration of care for Mount Waddington residents and visitors.

The cost of the first phase is estimated at $2.6 million, cost-shared between Island Health, through the Province of British Columbia, and the Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District.

Media Contact:
Debra Wall
Island Health Communications
250-616-3317

“The new Centre will be such a great asset to our community and to all the people in Mount Waddington,” said Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham. “We are grateful to Island Health and the LWG for their work that will, ultimately, benefit us all.”

Dave Nelson of Port McNeill-based Norkan Construction was the successful proponent to be construction manager for the project following a Request for Qualifications process. The majority of project sub-contractors will also be local firms.

“This is such a positive move forward,” said Alison Mitchell, Senior Manager for Mount Waddington. “The new Centre will help attract and retain high-quality health care providers. People will want to work here.”

Site preparation and construction will begin in early May and the facility is slated to open in late 2014.

“Reaching this step is the result of hard work and commitment by Island Health and many local residents,” said Dave Rushton, Chair of the Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District. “We are pleased to be a funding partner in this important project.”

-30-

Media Contact:
Debra Wall
Island Health Communications
250-616-3317

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