By Heather Killen
Happy health practitioners may make for better health care services for patients in Annapolis Royal.
The Annapolis Collaborative Practice is growing with a few new faces on the way. This practice offers a new holistic approach to delivering health services using a team of doctors, with a nurse practitioner, and family practice nurse.
They work together to provide comprehensive care to a common group of patients. The care offered through the practice covers a range of pediatric, adult, and geriatric medicine.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach they can treat the usual range of patient illnesses, as well as provide prenatal and well-baby care, perform minor surgical procedures, and primary prevention.
The team is hopeful that it will soon be able to offer an expanded service to the area. Two medical residents will be joining the team as part of the partnership program with Dalhousie Medical School.
These medical residents are among the five two-year term positions being offered through the Valley in clinics in Annapolis Royal, Middleton, Berwick, and Kentville. These two new doctors for Annapolis Royal will be working under the direction of Dr. Roop Conyers, Dr. Robert Barkwell, Dr. Simon Bonnington, Dr. Caroline Hancock, and Dr. Jennifer Cram.
The team is also supported by two key positions: a nurse practitioner and practice nurse. Dale Young, ACP’s nurse practitioner, is a registered nurse with advanced training to diagnose and treat illnesses. He can order tests such as x-rays, scans, and ultrasounds; interpret laboratory and other test results; as well as prescribe most medications.
Beth Bent, the family practice nurse, is a registered nurse who works in collaboration with the clinicians and focuses on health promotion, illness and injury prevention, treatment, and the monitoring of commonly encountered health problems and injuries and chronic disease management.
A recent survey conducted by the ACP found that the majority of respondents rated their care at ACP as good to excellent and that 96 per cent felt that the duration of their appointment was appropriate to deal with their medical concerns.
Most, 80 per cent of those surveyed, felt that they could usually see their family physician, or nurse practitioner and 70 per cent were satisfied with the process of getting an appointment, while 96 per cent said they felt the wait times for appointments were reasonable.
Dr. Simon Bonnington, who joined the practice a few years ago, was a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. He says he likes the better balance of work and life that he has found in Annapolis Royal.
“I was working in a (comparatively) larger suburban center and was seeing patients every 10 minutes,” he said. “It was a very rapid pace, with 18 patients in the morning and 20 in the afternoon. This is a more holistic approach to providing care and it offers me a better life/work balance.”
The facility at the Annapolis Community Health Centre offers physician the advantage of treating a range of conditions from managing trauma, and providing acute urgent and emergency care; as well as diagnosing and treating a full spectrum of chronic conditions including cardiac, respiratory, and diabetic illnesses.
The practice has recently reorganized its patient record-keeping system and has adopted the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). This medical record provides complete and up-to-date health information for each of the clinic’s patients.
“This new system enables us to read each another’s writing,” added Dr. Bonnington. “The benefit is that we can access the patient records, so if a patient’s regular doctor is unavailable, it’s possible to see another physician.”
Wait times for routine appointments are now about four to eight weeks, but if the matter is pressing patients can be seen right away. A newly designed website also contains information on how to book an appointment, have medications renewed, and provides information on the various services offered at ACP.
The office is located inside the Annapolis Community Health Centre (ACHC) which offers laboratory services, diagnostic imaging, cardiac investigation services, inpatient and palliative care beds, rehabilitation services, diabetes centre, mental health services, public health services, continuing care, and specialist traveling clinics.
For more information on the Annapolis Collaborative Practice, visit the website at www.novascotiaphysicians.ca