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ALBERTON, P.E.I. — Receiving health care in western P.E.I. will soon look a little different, courtesy of the new Alberton Community Health Centre on Church Street.
The facility held its grand opening on Oct. 10, and Dr. Pamela Hudson was eager to start seeing her first patients in the space later that day.
“It’s really exciting,” said Hudson. “It’s exciting to have seen a lot of the health workers that are gonna be working here were involved in planning for the building, so it’s exciting to see that it’s finally here.”
Hudson has worked as a family doctor in Alberton for the last four and a half years. In the new health centre, she will be holding family medicine clinics and addictions clinics. She will also still do inpatient care at Western Hospital.
First announced in early October 2021, the new $7.6 million centre will not replace the existing Western Hospital. Instead, the hope is for both facilities to complement each other’s services.
At the health centre, physicians and nurse practitioners will be able to collaborate and work in close proximity, providing services such as primary care, public health clinics and mental health and addiction support.
The centre, which is still recruiting to meet its full complement of staff, has space for a total of six nurse practitioners and physicians. As of the grand opening, Hudson was one of three physicians currently working out of the space, alongside a nurse practitioner.
Hudson, alongside Health Minister Mark McLane, hopes the new centre will encourage recruitment and help with retention.
“Access to all the health-care services in one building is a big plus. A modern facility, bright lights, you can see the hallways are larger, we’ll have all the latest equipment they need,” said McLane.
“It’s a back-to-back collaborative care model. I think the interaction with health centre professions in one building is important.”
The new space is “phenomenal,” said Alberton Mayor Brian Poirier, adding that he hopes it will help ease some stress on Western Hospital.
“I’m really excited for the community,” said Poirier. “More than anything else, our seniors, the people that will visit here, what they offer here, I’m really, really excited for Alberton and the surrounding community.”
Eva Rodgerson and Dave Pizio, chairs of the O’Leary Community Health Foundation and Western Hospital Foundation, respectively, attended the grand opening and were impressed with what they saw.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful step forward, and it’s going to meet a need, a requirement that’s long overdue,” said Pizio. “It’s gonna provide a service and increase the ability to look after the people, health-wise, in western P.E.I.”
Rodgerson voiced similar sentiments, emphasizing the collaboration between staff in all areas of care.
“I think there’s been a lot of times, too much isolation, not always intentionally,” she said. “To have all health professionals be able to come together under one roof, I just think it’s tremendous.”
Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. She can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on X @KristinGardiner.