Friends of the Annapolis County Health Centre

Position Statement
Friends of ACHC
The Friends is a citizens’ group advocating for health care services at the Annapolis Community Health Centre (ACHC) for the benefit of residents of Annapolis West served by the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority (AVH).

Position Statement
We believe the medical health services now in Annapolis Royal must remain, keeping as a minimum the Out Patient Department-ER plus the support staff and services at ACHC, including but not limited to: X-rays and a lab, EKG and heart monitors; in-patient beds and palliative care; physiotherapy, occupational therapy; continuing care coordinators; a mental health team, an addictions counselor, a diabetes-specialist nurse, dietician, pharmacy assistant, public health nurse; kitchen-cafeteria and maintenance services.

We have a unique centre of excellence in Annapolis Royal: the medical staff is part of a multi-disciplinary practice with an Emergency Room. Doctors, residents, and medical students are attracted to our centre because we have a good team, with a record of care from physicians who live here, who are part of our historic community1 and provide stable, consistent services to residents of Annapolis West.

At this time our ER is open five days a week. The doctors ensure that the closures, two days a week, are on consistent days and the schedule is clear to the public. We need a commitment from the Department of Health and Annapolis Valley Health that our ER will remain open: there will then be a clear message in recruiting new doctors to help fill the narrow gap in our ER. Any reduction in our services will create a surge of patients looking for both primary and emergency care up and down the Annapolis Valley.

The Department of Health and AVH are responsible for providing equitable health care to taxpayers, which includes access in time and distance travelled to health care. A trip to a doctor and an ER in Annapolis Royal is long enough from anywhere within the catchment area: trips in good weather can take 25-30 minutes from places like Delaps Cove, Phinney’s Cove, or Kejimkujik; in bad weather these are not short, easy journeys, especially because safety is a major concern.

By extension, the time and distance to a major full service ER from the Annapolis catchment area is considerable: from Annapolis Royal to Kentville is a drive of approximately an hour and a half; from Annapolis Royal to Yarmouth is close to an hour and three-quarters: all substantial additions to the already 25-30 minutes from an outlying place just to get to Annapolis Royal in good weather. From Victoria Beach or Maitland Bridge especially in rain or snow: these are some of the longest journeys to major health care in the AVH jurisdiction and a compelling reason for providing full service ER capability in Annapolis Royal, where our physicians have a proven record of attracting doctors and offer stable care.

Accessible and timely medical health care in the Annapolis Community Health Centre is absolutely crucial to our physical health and mental well-being. This is the issue beyond all others. Indeed, the Canada Health Act says health policy must ‘protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and…facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers’.

Conclusion
The Friends of ACHC believe that closing or curtailing the ER will place the 10,000 citizens in the Annapolis West catchment area in an inequitable position. The current twenty-four hour ER capability at ACHC has been reduced from seven to five days a week. The Friends seek a commitment from the Department of Health and AVH to keep the ER at Annapolis Community Health Centre and expand to full service ER capability open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

1 In Port Royal, Canada’s first permanent European settlement, (later Annapolis Royal), there has been a physician since De Monts, Poutricourt, Grave Du Pont and Champlain c. 1605-06. Louis Hébert was the surgeon and an apothecary, or pharmacist.

 

Revised: April 12. 2010

 

This site has been created by the Friends of ACHC who are a concerned group of citizens working with the Annapolis West Health Foundation (AWHF), Annapolis Community Health Centre Auxiliary (ACHC Aux) and the Town of Annapolis Royal.

Volunteer participation and public comments are welcome, please contact us at: