New Medical Clinic Layout
Medical Clinic Layout Port Elgin
As we covered in a
prior article, the Council on March
3rd, 2008 approved the funds required for the 10 week renovation of the
former Fresh Mart site in Port Elgin. As we've discussed in
another article Staff and Council were 'under the gun' on this project
and there is a lot of trust involved (see
more) ... hence the 10 week schedule.
We will examine here some issues that puzzle us and maybe others. First the facts:
We guess a person gets used to being a patient, so lets start with that. The patient needs a waiting room and if possible an area set aside for really sick people. Patients are perfectly happy to go to a common receptionist and sign in for their doctor or dentist. They usually have a question or two for a receptionist and after the appointment they are given some idea of their next appointment.
It all of a sudden dawned on us that, here we are going into this detail on a big expenditure of funds. This can be done by two experts at least on the Town Council, if they had time to study the layouts and expenditures. Also, the Town Engineer, Dave Burnside has a lot of experience. Time again is the enemy.
We remember sitting in on the public meetings about the High Street Bathroom chaired by Mike Myatt. This was a contentious issue, but at least there was time for reflection.
He did a great job on that with artist's sketches, plan view blue prints and everything. Not many people really looked at the engineering drawings, but they were there for viewing.
The citizens haggled about sight lines and paint colours, shrubs and all sorts of things. Mike handled everything well and the tiny building is an asset replacing a Port-A-John..
We are sure the staff would have their own ideas about the medical building layout, if they had a chance (the mysterious deadline looms again). We know that the Town Manager Ron Brown has spent a lot of time on the overall aspects of getting the building and working with the recruitment people over the last year.
In the proposed layout there are 4 distinct reception areas. We think the doctors must fear the sharing and training of a single receptionist. They don't study that in medical school. Who would hire and fire and who would replace the receptionist on vacations and sick days? Still it seems like a place for improvement.
Just think if they add 3 more doctors with the same plan for a total of 7. Will this model work? We bet they will have to redesign the interior. If we had 7 doctors and each had a few staff, then we'd have no more than 25 people. The majority of the people will be patients waiting, so why not make a common area?
It's been our experience that a good receptionist is worth their weight in gold. They can really inform people. Each doctor will have an assistant or two and they are usually busy moving around, so the immediate reception of the patient is not always prompt and efficient.
If the four or seven doctors were partners in an engineering firm, you can bet they'd have a single receptionist. They are not partners, however, but appear to be if you dropped in from Mars.
Looks like quite a few bathrooms, but they are distributed throughout the 5807 square feet. As of now there are 8 of them. It appears that some other layout might be better for the mechanicals and the future development. Locating them more toward the middle of the building would help. Spreading them out seems to be less than optimal. It appears that the entire design is skewed by the doctor's request to have at this time 4 separate entities, so the designer cookie cut out four areas in a rectangular building.
The Saugeen Times cannot comment on the space occupied by records. It's hard to tell from the rudimentary plan presented to Council. How these are accessed and how handy are they to the doctors is important. Some of this is governed by law. It will change dramatically over the next few years when more and more records will be online.
We discussed the plan with Archie Gillies who was the Building Chairperson for the Southampton Medical Clinic. Archie said "We used the same architectural firm G.M Diemart and they were very good. This plan surprises me." Archie went on to say that he was also surprised that nobody called him and asked what he had learned from his experience.
He went on to relate that his daughter is a doctor and he's had a lot of experience with public buildings, both in the KW area and in the far north where he was economic director for the Territories. He has made a special study of medical clinics over time and has visited many of them.
It will turn out well for the medical needs of the area, it's just a puzzling design.... stay tuned.