Amhestburg Family Health Team breaks ground for new facility

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Source: Julie Kotsis, The Windsor Star

New options for health care delivery are expected at the Amherstburg Family Health Team after ground was broken Monday for a  facility three times the size of the current clinic.

Dr. Tim O’Callahan, family doctor and the AFHT’s lead physician, said his team of three doctors, a nurse practitioner, social workers, nurses and other staff, is limited by the lack of space in the current 1,800-square-foot facility. The new clinic will be more than 6,500 square feet.

“This will allow … improved patient access, better visibility in the community and … new options for care delivery such as group teaching and group appointments … and an opportunity for growth of the team,” O’Callahan said of the facility that has been six years in the planning stage.

He said staff won’t increase immediately, but the goal is to add two more family physicians and more nurse practitioners.

The AFHT will be housed in a one-storey commercial medical building with 73 parking spaces, including three accessible spots, on a 3.25 acre site in front of Seasons Amherstburg retirement residence on Front Road South. The clinic is currently set up at Seasons.

“With our present building, we’re very invisible in town,” O’Callahan said. “The increased visibility with a building right on Front Road is going to improve patient knowledge of our facility and should increase (the number of clients).

“I think there is an unmet demand in town.”

Board member Carolyn Davies, a nurse practitioner and Amherstburg councillor, who has been involved with the AFHT since helping to apply for funding in 2006 for the health care centre, said the architectural plans will accommodate expansion of the clinic.

“We’re hoping to grow. We’re hoping that we’re going to need more space again … add more providers and more patients and more programs,” Davies said. “This is what the ministry would allow us but we’re dreaming for a larger space again.”

The medical complex is being built with funding from the Ministry of Health. The AFHT will lease space in the new building.

Executive director Ann Robson said construction is scheduled to begin within the next couple of days if the weather co-operates. On Monday, several inches of water sat on parts of the site.

Robson, whose closet-sized office is jammed full of floor-to-ceiling storage boxes, said the AFHT expects to be in its new home by the end of August or the beginning of September.