Nova Scotia

New collaborative-care clinic coming to Annapolis Valley

A new health centre being built in New Minas, N.S., on the site of what used to be a bowling alley is on track to welcome its first patient by January. It will have doctors on site, as well as offer health services such as psychology, physiotherapy and massage therapy.

The clinic plans to open next year and has 12 confirmed doctors so far

Valley Crossroads will offer primary care, as well as services including physiotherapy, psychology, massage therapy, nutrition, medical research and a pharmacy. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A new collaborative-care clinic being built in New Minas, N.S., on the site of what used to be a bowling alley is on track to welcome its first patient by January.

With 12 confirmed doctors, Valley Crossroads will offer primary care, as well as services including physiotherapy, psychology, massage therapy, nutrition, medical research and a pharmacy.

It's a combined effort between three Kentville doctors: Craig White, Chris King and Mark Johnston.

Johnston said not everybody he spoke to was sold on the idea of locating a large health-care facility where there used to be a bowling alley, but the ones who were didn't need much convincing.

"As soon as you tell them, they get it immediately," he said. "You see their eyes light up, and they go, 'Oh my god, that's fantastic,' and they want to be a part of it. It's been heartwarming to have that enthusiasm around the project."

White and King are family physicians who work out of the same clinic in Kentville. When they move their practices to Valley Crossroads, it will open up two more family doctor vacancies at their current clinic, they said.

How the idea came about

The three said they got together to discuss a new health centre that would give them space to grow their practices. From there, the idea snowballed until they decided on a massive collaborative facility that would give patients a one-stop shop for all their health-care needs.

"We wanted to have something that was new and a change in direction," said Johnston, who is a psychiatrist. "We realized we're not going to be able to do it with something that's pre-existing locally."

Before demolishing the bowling alley, Johnston said they considered renovating the space for their needs, but ultimately decided to start from the ground up.

"This is the only one I'm going to build," he said. "I'm not going to do this again in five years, so let's do it right."

Recruitment and retention

Johnston said he hopes the facility helps attract doctors to the area and keeps them there.

"What better way to do that than to have a good place for them to work?" he said.

White said the trio has already recruited a new doctor from Ontario, a nurse practitioner and two family practice nurses.

He said of the 12 physicians confirmed at Valley Crossroads, two will be available to take on new patients. The other 10 are already established in the area and will bring their patients with them to the new location.

A spokesperson from the Nova Scotia Health Authority said the facility is a positive addition to the community.

Construction on the facility began two weeks ago. (Submitted by Craig White)

"We're pleased to see this practice moving forward with expansion into a new facility," Kristen Lipscombe said in an email. "NSHA has supported their collaborative work with the addition of a nurse practitioner to the team in 2018, and we are looking forward to continuing to work together."

There's room for other doctors and nurses to join the practice.

"We're still in need of family doctors here," White said.

White said the construction crew broke ground on the new facility two weeks ago and the facility will open in phases starting next year. It's expected to be fully ready nine months to a year from now.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.