York Region News article published November 2, 2021
By Amanda Persico
Same location, brand-new clinic.
The Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (GNPLC) will soon be returning to its former location on Dalton Road in Sutton.
The building shell — exterior walls, roof and doors — was recently completed under Health Georgina, a community-led organization dedicated to supporting the health-care needs of Georgina residents.
“This is a commitment to the community and now a reality for the community,” said Health Georgina chair Steve Jacobson, during a recent tour of the building.
The $1.5-million exterior is complete, leaving GNPLC to complete the interior — from walls and electrical outlets, to furnishings and finishes.
And the new clinic will be “gorgeous,” promised clinic director Beth Cowper-Fung.
While it doesn’t look like much now, the new space will be a much-needed addition to the town’s health-care needs, Jacobson added.
It’s been a long and bumpy road for the GNPLC, from receiving a $1.63 million grant from the province in 2017 earmarked for a brand-new clinic on Lake Drive, to digging out from a fire that ravaged the clinic located within the former Dr. George Burrows family practice building.
After starting anew in what was always a temporary location, the GNPLC is ready to fulfil the $1.63-million dream with its new clinic at the old Dalton Road location.
But there’s just one more hurdle to overcome — the installation of key utilities such as gas and hydro. Together, Health Georgina and the GNPLC are pushing Enbridge to hasten hookups currently slated for mid-November.
Once gas and hydro hookups are complete, it could take anywhere between three to six months to complete the interior, depending on construction material supply.
Once complete, the new space will be equipped with 15 clinical rooms, including space for a lab, dietician, social work counselling, foot care clinic, and physiotherapy space.
Not to mention the five nurse practitioner rooms, giving much-needed overflow space.
“It’s all about patient flow,” said Cowper-Fung.
“That means we can move from room to room; see one patient while another room is being prepped.
"It gives time for someone to get ready to leave, or for a mom to put their child in the stroller. That all takes time. Many of our patients are new moms or seniors.”
The new clinic also has dedicated space for small procedures, as well as a kitchen and a boardroom that will double as added programming and education space for future cooking classes and diabetes clinics.
“In the new space, we can double what we’ve been doing,” Cowper-Fung said. “We can see more patients more efficiently. And we’ll have the space to do it.
"We can increase productivity and decrease wait times.”
And with the new state-of-the-art clinical space comes new clinical staff — more nurse practitioners, as well as nurse practitioner students, which will allow the clinic to add about 800 new patients and open the patient wait-list.
"This is what the community needs — more health care options," Cowper-Fung added.
Space at the current temporary location on High Street in Sutton is cramped to say the least, with four nurse practitioner rooms, split between two floors and it is not wheelchair-accessible.
Accessibility for all patients is the force behind the newly designed clinic, Cowper-Fung added, as the new clinic will feature accessible washrooms and hallways “wide enough to turn a stretcher.”
Over the summer, Health Georgina launched its buy-a-brick campaign raising more than $200,000 for the clinic building.
Now Health Georgina is turning its attention to memorializing the late Dr. Burrows with a memorial plaque and statue outside the old-new home of the GNPLC.
Once complete, Health Georgina is looking to the future of health care for the community and is currently developing strategic plans to attract new doctors to town, as well as other health- care services including hospice care.
For more information or to donate to Health Georgina’s buy-a brick campaign, visit healthgeorgina.ca