The Wellesley Community Health Centre will set up shop in the new Wellesley Township Recreation Centre once it’s built.
The provincial Ministry of Health gave the green light for the move earlier this month. The staff of two family physicians, three nurse practitioners, chiropodist, mental health workers, community outreach staff, health promoter and support staff will be moving when the facility is complete.
The current facility on Queen’s Bush Road in downtown Wellesley is quite small for the community’s needs, said executive director Rosslyn Bentley.
She says the health staff and lab staff currently share three exam rooms between them.
“You can imagine booking a room is quite a logistical nightmare,” said Bentley. “It only takes one baby that throws up in the room, and you’ve got a bit of a hold up.”
The building is also two storeys, and fairly narrow, which makes accessibility and social distancing difficult.
The new facility will be approximately one kilometre away from the downtown location. Staff were able to design the new space to suit current and anticipated needs. The population of Wellesley is expected to increase by 12 per cent over the 2011 Census.
“I’m very proud of our team,” said Bentley. “We’ve been operating successfully for 18 years. But we’d like to do more with what we have.”
The new facility will be entirely located on the ground floor of the recreation centre. It will include an airways precaution room with extra filtration and enclosed air circulation separate from the rest of the building, reducing the need to rely on facilities in the cities, more space in the hallways and examination rooms to ensure distancing, six examination rooms, two counselling rooms, separate facilities for lab staff and hotel space for visiting volunteers, students and community partners.
Bentley said she is excited for the health centre to be further integrated into the community.
“Wellbeing isn’t just the absence of disease,” she said. “Having the health centre integrated in the recreation centre will provide the opportunity for patients to participate more fully in their community and for the building to become a vibrant community hub.”
For example, the health centre will not have any of its own meeting rooms, she said. Instead, health centre staff will use the recreation centre’s meeting rooms to deliver health and wellbeing workshops as well as kids camps and other programming.
Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023.