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Through a Request for Proposal procurement process, the District has retained Thinkspace Architecture, along with their supporting team, to complete a Feasibility Study for a Summerland Primary Health Care Centre. This project will be used for grant applications to obtain capital funding support and further decision making.
Feasibility Study Objective
Building on the past work for the Summerland Community Recreation & Health Centre Needs Assessment, Community Engagement Summary and the Summerland Health Centre Business Case document, a team of Architects, Management Consultants, and Stakeholders continue to work with the District of Summerland building a business case responding to the demonstrated need for increased primary care services and looking for adequate space for these service within the community. It is believed that this would attract and help recruit new providers to Summerland, address the shortage in primary care providers and improve access to care by offering a centralized team-based model of care.
Multi-Disciplinary Team Based Approach
The Architects and Management Consultants have met and will continue to meet with the Steering Committee which is comprised of the District of Summerland, Interior Health, SOS Division of Family Practice as well as local Physicians. In these meetings, the group identifies potential issues and opportunities within the community and the design team of Architects and Management Consultants eventually put those ideas and vision into a highly detailed business case.
The current vision is to create a 10,000 square foot space dedicated to primary health care delivery in Summerland with adequate room to be the medical home for all Summerland residents. A central location is desired for sixteen (16) family physicians or nurse practitioners providing team-based care with nurses and allied health professionals with space to accommodate visiting specialists and Interior Health specialized services. It is anticipated that there will be 4,000 unattached patients this year in Summerland. The current clinics do not have capacity to take on new patients and are limited in their ability to accommodate new provider recruits. Summerland requires an additional four new family physicians/nurse practitioners to meet the community’s current need.
Site Location Investigation
The team is currently reviewing site locations and properties suitable for a Community Primary Health Centre. The team has been looking at both empty unused land for a new building as well as existing buildings which could be renovated. The team has also been looking at District owned property as well as private property and has started inquiring into potential partnerships. The team is working towards at least two options; one with the Primary Health Centre being co-located with the Recreation Facility and the other being separate. For this reason, the team leading the Primary Health Centre continues to communicate with the Recreation Centre team to develop potentials. The Primary Health Centre team has started test fitting sites and evaluating their conduciveness to the project objectives.
UPDATE - The consultants with support from Council, have narrowed down site locations to 9600 Brown Street and 13609 Dickson Avenue. The consultants will be completing site design and costing for both locations and will complete a site comparison for council's consideration.
In addition to engaging the Project Steering Committee and District staff (previously described), the Primary Health Centre team has also engaged with Council and has routinely debriefed them with new developments and updates. At the request of the Project Steering Committee, the team also met with staff and physicians of a team based Primary Health Centre in a nearby community which has had great success with achieving most of the objectives outlined in this mandate. By understanding and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of this precedent, the group is able to gain a good understanding of what actually works and ensure the model of care is simulated and if possible, improved within Summerland. As the team narrows down potentials, the team will engage and gain ideas and input from the public through public meetings (in person if possible or digitally if need be).
Please see the project Engagement Plan for more details around stakeholder and community engagement.
Costing and Financial Analysis
The team is also tasked with ensuring that this business case is diligent in evaluating multiple funding sources which would offset the required capital costs of such a facility. The team is currently brainstorming multiple operational/ governance models, partnerships, funding sources and will eventually be considering lease agreement terms for the centre. There are multiple stakeholder and interest groups which will be contacted to determine levels of support. The team is working towards creating a high-level operational business case that consider whole-life costs (capital, operations, maintenance, replacement, decommissioning) and revenues, and identify any risks that may affect services, revenues or costs. Sources of capital funding being evaluated so far include sources through South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, Community Foundation of the South Okanagan as well as other levels of government which include the Ministry of Health and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.
Final Recommendations and Presentation
Once the team has achieved consensus on a final preferred design option and site, the team will formalize the final Feasibility Study Report, adding recommendations for Council and make a final presentation.
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Continue to visit www.summerland.ca/rec-and-health-centre for regular updates on the project.
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