Do or die time for Shelburne Medical Clinic upgrades

Amy Woolvett
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Bob Legere, chair of the Roseway Hospital Charitable Organization.

Amy Woolvett photo

By Amy Woolvett

There are three things a prospective physician looks for when choosing a community to work: a good lifestyle, something for their spouses or children and a proper place to practice.

Of these, the number one priority was a new up-to-date clinic.

“We are competing with similar towns across the province,” said Bob Legere, chair of the Roseway Hospital Charitable Organization. 

He explained this was one of the reasons they have been so driven to create a new medical centre to fit the needs of physicians.

But the project has since come to a standstill.

When the plans to retrofit the Shelburne Medical Clinic were initiated, there was no money allotted to electrical and mechanical upgrades but as time went on it became clear these components were now obsolete and needed to be replaced.

This leaves the project short $441, 875.

They have put forth a request for further funding to the Department of Health but have yet to hear anything back.

Legere said people want to know why the clinic could not be scaled back to fit the orginal budget of nearly $1-million already raised including the $658,000 from the province, $200,000 from the Municipality of Shelburne and $100,000 from the foundation.

“The project has been cut back to bare bones,” he said.

The clinic must be able to accommodate four practicing physicians, two nurse practitioners and one family practice nurse.

The Department of Health Authority has entered into a return to service agreement with Dalhousie University for doctors who have graduated to give years of service in a rural community with South West Health.

Two physicians are scheduled to come by summer but if there is no space for them, they will go somewhere else.

“We will have to cancel them coming here because there will be no room for them,” said Legere.

They are frustrated that out of the five municipal units approached in Shelburne County, only the Municipality of Shelburne has committed funding to the project.

“The Town of Shelburne has not given any support whatsoever,” said Barb Romero, a member of the charitable organization.

She offered that councillors should know that family physicians are what the town needs to keep people in the area, she said.

“Town residents need to push council to support the clinic,” she said.

She fears if they don’t attract physicians with the clinic, there won’t be enough to keep the hospital open.

“Every morning we have 50 to 70 people in outpatients,” she said.  “If we lose that we are gone…it would impact the whole county.”

They are also seeking the assistance of some of the larger businesses in the area.

When or if enough funding is put in place it is estimated it will take 14-months from tender to opening to complete.

“It is at a do or die situation,” said Legere.  “The longer the project waits, the more expensive it’s going to be and the harder it will be to come up with the money.”

At its most recent meeting, the Town of Shelburne considered a funding request for the clinic and has asked to meet with the hospital’s charity as well as members of South West Health over the situation before making a decision.

Organizations: Shelburne Medical Clinic, Roseway Hospital Charitable Organization, South West Health Department of Health Health Authority Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Shelburne County

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