The Mid Valley Region Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee offers a very sincere THANK YOU to the organizations and businesses that provided items for the gift baskets given to the Physicians and Medical Residents at the Community Welcome Event held at 14 Wing Greenwood on Saturday, 22 October. Your generosity and interest in the program are truly appreciated by the Committee and the recipients!
The New Deal Part One – Primary Health Care Centre
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation embarked on a $1 million fundraising campaign in 2019 to help build the new Primary Health Care Centre in Middleton. The project was announced by then Premier Stephen McNeil and construction commenced at the site adjacent to Soldiers Memorial Hospital.
When the announcement was made, Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation engaged community groups, provincial and municipal government, businesses, and members of the community to help with the fundraising efforts. Major contributions were received from local residents, community groups, Town of Middleton, the Counties of Annapolis and Kings, and many others.
The project was completed on time and over $2 million dollars under budget, allowing the Primary Health Care Centre to open in December of 2020. Following the opening of the Primary Health Care Centre, the Board of Directors for Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation searched for other ways to raise money on a building that was now fully operational.
Because the project was completed significantly under budget and the fundraising efforts had been curtailed due to the pandemic, Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation, with support of our local MLAs, presented an alternative funding arrangement to Nova Scotia Health. Initially, Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation committed to raise $1 million to support the project. In agreement with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health, the Foundation will now contribute a total of $500,000 to the project from monies received through pledges and donations toward the project.
The additional $500,000 will go toward funding new equipment and programs at Soldiers Memorial Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital, which serves patients from the entire Valley region.
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation would like to thank the donors who contributed to the construction of the Primary Health Care Centre, which has recently been renamed ‘Middleton & Area Family Health Centre’. We are grateful to our local MLAs, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, and Nova Scotia Health for their collaboration in making this project a reality and to allow us to redirect monies to fund additional healthcare needs in the Valley.
The New Deal Part Two – Equipment, Programs, and CT Scanner
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation will be contributing $500,000 to fund new equipment and programs at Soldiers Memorial Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital to improve healthcare services to the members of the Valley region.
Some of the equipment purchased will be vital upgrades, replacing key pieces of equipment that are approaching end of life service. One of the key pieces of equipment Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation, in partnership with Valley Regional Hospital Foundation, will be replacing is a CT Scanner at Valley Regional Hospital. Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation will contribute $326,000 to the purchase of the CT Scanner over three years. We will also purchase seven cardiac monitors for Soldiers Memorial Hospital at a total cost of $165,000.
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation will pay $500,000 toward the construction costs of the new Middleton & Area Family Health Centre. Through our negotiations, an additional $500,000 will come from our Foundation for equipment and programs that will directly improve health outcomes for the members of our communities.
We believe this is a positive outcome for all community members and we once again would like to thank Nova Scotia Health and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness for their support of this New Deal.
Kelly Hutton, Chair
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation
Donations to Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation can be made by:
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation email@example.com
PO Box 730, 462 Main St., Middleton NS B0S 1P0
t. 902 825-4202 f. 902 825-5110
14 Wing Greenwood is a partner in a Valley-wide initiative to attract health care practitioners to the community, working with both the Mid Valley and the Annapolis Valley Collaborative committees for recruitment and retention. While military members have access to health care on base, their families often go an entire posting cycle living here without a doctor or access to reliable care. Don Hyslop, centre, is the volunteer Community Physician Navigator for the Mid Valley Committee. He recently visited Deputy Wing Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Travis, right, and Chief Warrant Officer Jamie Rideout to catch up on the latest developments in an on-going campaign.
14 Wing Greenwood’s military families without a doctor or access to reliable care are not alone. Approximately 81,000 people are on the Nova Scotia ‘Need a Family Practice’ Registry. In the mid Valley area, there are ~6,000 people— close to 30 per cent of the population— without regular care, which is highest percentage by region in the province.
“My family has spent two and a half years on the waitlist,” 14 Wing Commander Colonel Brendan Cook said in a base-wide virtual town hall session on February 23, in response to a question about dependents’ access to local health care. “We just heard we’re soon to be enrolled with a doctor, but we leave Greenwood in July. I understand.”
Fifteen years ago, the Wing partnered with the Nova Scotia Heath Authority to open the Greenwood Family Health Clinic in the Morfee Centre. The base provided the space and NSHA provided the staff, programs, and equipment.
“The thinking was that clinic would predominantly serve military families, with some access by the wider community, and we do have that today—but military families move and may not have taken themselves off the patient list; and other military members have retired here and remain on the list as part of our veteran community.”
In 2020, Cook tasked then-Deputy Wing Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Dale King to engage with NSHA with support for the Greenwood clinic, and the wider community on healthcare worker recruitment. A thorough check of the clinic’s patient list—with personal phone calls made to many—found some military families were no longer in the area.
“The priority for us is clear: if a space opens up, a military family be considered first—but it won’t be everyone, and it won’t be soon.” Cook said.
‘Anyone we can attract helps us all’
Current Deputy Wing Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Travis, King’s successor, says “anyone we can attract to Nova Scotia helps us all,” using words that sound remarkably close to 14 Wing’s motto, “Operate as One.”
“Working on doctor and health care worker recruitment is a very different task than my typical military work,” he says, “but medical care is a big deal for our military families. If families can’t get a doctor while they are here in Greenwood, it affects families’ posting decisions—and that means the military member we need for their skill, and the member’s potential career advancement—doesn’t happen. Everyone loses.
“I’m enjoying working with the community and seeing the work going in to this and the progress being made.”
Travis is working mostly closely, recently, with the Mid Valley Region Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee, established by Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation to retain and recruit healthcare personnel to SMH’s catchment area, from Aylesford to Bridgetown. This is the region where many of those 6,000 mid Valley residents without primary care live.
Don Hyslop is the volunteer Community Physician Navigator for the recruitment committee. He says 14 Wing has already made a difference, providing meeting space, photo and video services, adding recreation and fitness centre information and access to welcome packages for residents and visiting healthcare workers, attending meet and greet events for health care workers and community members, and adding “people power” to targeted initiatives.
“We’ve seen one-and-a-half physicians added to our catchment area since last summer,” Hyslop says. “We’re doing it. Everyone who can has to be involved in this. I’d just say, ‘thank you.’”
Valley effort all about collaboration and connection
At the eastern end of the Valley, Breanna Hall is the Community Physician Navigator for the Annapolis Valley Collaborative Committee for Doctor Retention and Recruitment. She initially worked with King, tying 14 Wing to some of the Committee’s projects, and adding in extras only the base could bring to the table.
“We had a flyover in July of Valley Regional Hospital, just to show appreciation for our physicians and healthcare workers,” Hall says, “and we’d added the Wing to an incentive program for nurse practitioners and doctors visiting or new to the area.
“In 2021, we had a 100 per cent retention rate with residents who were working in the Valley, which is phenomenal.”
Hull says the eastern Valley committee is certainly “not in competition with” the Mid Valley group: “We’re all figuring out plans that work specific areas. We’ll collaborate, divide and not duplicate, and we have that built connection that we’re here for each other. We both have a great connection with the Wing, and we’re happy to partner and support the entire Valley area.”
14 Wing will be at the table
All of these efforts and partnership are no different than what many communities across Nova Scotia—and Canada— are doing to increase health care accessibility, but Cook is committed to 14 Wing being involved—and being a “catalyst” wherever possible—in Valley initiatives.
“We’ve helped bring the community together, and this is truly the solution we need to embrace. We’re working with the province and the municipalities and the community to make that happen,” he said. “A doctor for one community in the Valley is a doctor for all.”
-Contributed by Sara White, Editor, The Greenwood Aurora, 7 March 2022
Whether you live in Middleton or only come into Town periodically, you have probably seen David Harvey pulling his metal wagon and collecting refundables from various businesses and recycling receptacles.
We were very pleased to receive a call from David’s sister saying that he wanted to make a donation to the Foundation for the Primary Health Care Centre (recently renamed to Middleton & Area Family Health Centre). We were pleasantly surprised that the donation was in the amount of $500. THAT IS A LOT OF CANS AND BOTTLES!
David, the members of the Foundation thank you. The staff at the Middleton & Area Family Health Centre thank you. And please know that the entire community thanks you for your hard work in collecting these refundables and for your generosity with the donation!
Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation awarded five $1,000 Scholarships to local students from the Mid Valley Region who are enrolled in medical school.
Pictured above, from Left to Right: Dr. Michele Saxon; Medical Students Adam McNeil, Meghan Breckon, Allyson Evans, Evan Banks, Rachel Holland; and Kelly Hutton, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
The Scholarships recognize and support Medical Students from the Hospital’s catchment area, which extends from Aylesford to Bridgetown.
The Foundation is committed to the education, growth, and development of our communities’ youth. In addition to mentoring and engaging in education in the field of health and wellness, we believe it is important to assist in the advancement of talented students in their pursuit of higher education. It is this pursuit of higher education in the field of Medicine that enables the Foundation to provide $1,000. scholarships to these five Medical Students.
The Mid Valley Region Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee will follow their progress and offer support when needed throughout their time in Medical School.
It is the hope of the Recruitment & Retention Committee that these five exceptional young adults will return here to the Mid Valley Region and that we can help create a positive community environment for them to live, work, and build their lives here as Physicians.