LEWISPORTE, NL – After seven years of strenuous work, Lewisporte’s new clinic is ready for operation.
But it is still missing one vital element – doctors.
Concerned Citizens’ Committee chairman Walter Dawe says the committee’s work to provide a first-class private community health care clinic in Lewisporte is coming to a close.
The spacious building has an on-site pharmacy and plenty of room for physicians, and is equipped with modern equipment. The building is also in close proximity to North Haven Manor and X-ray and emergency services.
To bring the committee’s tireless work full circle, a practicing physician is needed to open the clinic’s doors to the public, said Dawe.
“This clinic (has) all the right ingredients; all we need is the physicians to make this dream reality,” he said. “We have completed our (work), but now there is a challenge to help us secure doctors.”
Project manager Mike Pearce has been devoting his time to various efforts to secure a doctor. He says some discussions and prospects are in sight, including an invitation to meet with medical students in St. John’s.
As part of this recruitment effort, Pearce is working on a presentation to showcase both the clinic and the opportunities and access available in the Lewisporte area.
Pearce says the clinic has also received support from Central Health.
The town of Lewisporte has also been approached to develop a recruitment package to encourage doctors to come to the area.
Pearce hopes these efforts will prove fruitful for a community in need of this new clinic.
“The prospects are there and all hands are working hard,” he said. “And the space is here to expand further with chiropractors, psychologists and dieticians that would be interested in private care.”
Obstacles and challenges
The pharmacy attached to the clinic has been in operation since mid-January, though lack of a physician has been frustrating for pharmacist Ron Pomeroy.
He says without a doctor on site, he’s had to work 80-hour weeks just to make ends meet.
“I made the move to this facility on the premise that we would have a doctor soon,” Pomeroy said. “This is a tremendous expense to me right now; I need the volume of prescriptions to go up just to pay the rent.
“To go through this clinic and see what’s available here – it’s sad it’s yet to go into full use.”
Committee member Hector Pearce says there have been several barriers to the recruitment process.
“There’s a shortage of doctors right throughout the island and province,” he said. “And there’s a lot of time being devoted to the current reviews on the go with Central Health in Gander.
“But on the positive side, the community will find a way around all these obstacles. If we can get one or two doctors here, I think it will just mushroom from there.”
With the burden on the pharmacy in mind, the committee is asking individuals and community members who could help the clinic’s recruitment efforts to reach out.
Mike Pearce now hopes with his own upcoming endeavours, presentations and connections, the clinic is close to seeing a full-time physician take up practice.
“We’ve got a phenomenal facility, we got a great pharmacist that’s known in the area,” he said. “2018 is going to be a struggle but I think in a year, this going to be a bustling centre.”
Committee member Rev. Arthur Elliott agrees that with the quality of the facility, once these issues are resolved the clinic will be a major success.
“We’re very optimistic within a reasonable time this clinic will be alive, active, and doing its work,” said Elliott.