Agassiz hoping to add 10 physicians

The clinic will be increasing its total space to 18,000 square feet, an addition of about 2,500 square feet of developed space. File photo

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Agassiz Medical Centre is set to undergo some significant changes as part of a clinic development project.

The Agassiz Medical Centre Community Board has been working for quite a few years on this project, and the Community Board said they are excited to finally be able to move forward with this project.

There is currently space in the building that remains undeveloped, and that space will be developed into a usable area for the clinic. The whole clinic will also be undergoing significant changes, including a facelift of the waiting room.

One of the results of the inquiry after the death of Brian Sinclair in Winnipeg, who waited 24 hours in the Health Science Centre without receiving care before dying, was that reception staff in all medical facilities should be able to have eye contact with the majority of patients in the waiting area so they can ensure patients are okay as they wait for treatment.

“As we look to the future, we knew that we need more providers to meet the needs of the community,” a spokesperson for the Community Board said.

Provider in this case can mean a physician or a nurse practitioner.

The clinic will be increasing its total space to 18,000 square feet, an addition of about 2,500 square feet of developed space.

“The number one priority is additional exam rooms for providers,” a board spokesperson said. “Our number two priority was the nurses’ area, and number three is the redesign of the current reception area.”

This upgrade is something the clinic has been wanting for some years now, especially given how the number of patients they see through the doors has been steadily increasing.

“We currently have 1,600 people that we’re aware of that are on a list for a provider in our facility,” a spokesperson for the board said. “We stopped taking names on the list six months ago due to the length of the list.”

The clinic has been directing patients to Family Doctor Finder, a provincial list.

The project aims to bring more providers to the facility and also assess functionality for the existing space. The board said as the clinic has grown and changed, some of the space just isn’t as functional as it used to be.

Agassiz Medical Centre currently employs 20 physicians, two nurse practitioners that practice outside of the clinic and almost 40 staff members. There are over 4,000 appointments per month.
The hope of the board is that this project will allow for the recruitment of 10 more physicians, not including planning for any physicians that may be looking to retire.

The board said the aim of this upgrade is to focus on meeting the needs of the community and those of the patient population.

“There’s lots of patients that come from outside of our community,” the Community Board said. “Right now we have over 15,000 people that identify us as their regular source of care.”

The Community Board said they are hopeful that the project will be finished within a year. Work on the clinic will be starting right away, and the upgrade will cost around $1.2 million.

Funding will come from the City of Morden, R.M. of Stanley and the Agassiz Physicians Medical Corporation. The Community Board has also committed to raising at least $500,000 through a fundraising drive.

“We have a huge project ahead of us, that’s what we’ve committed to raise prior to construction starting,” a board spokesperson said.

Agassiz Medical Centre will remain fully operational throughout the process.

The centre will be officially kicking off the clinic development project on November 29 at 7 to 9 p.m. Coffee and dainties will be served, and the Community Board will be making another major announcement at the event.