North Bay news: East Ferris Medical Centre health care hub

North Bay news: East Ferris Medical Centre health care hub

Health care in East Ferris is being centralized in one location at the newly opened East Ferris Medical Centre.

It has more than enough room to host a variety of services the municipality has never been able to offer.

To Dr. John Seguin, it’s known as the home of regional health care.

“We’re just lucky. The community is lucky,” Seguin said at the clinic’s grand opening ceremony Friday afternoon.

Since 2006, Seguin has been pleading with municipal council to open a state-of-the-art medical centre as his practice was based out of his own home.

“I couldn’t have nurses,” he said.

“I’ve travelled all over the north and I think we have one of the best clinics now in northern Ontario.”

The clinic will hold two doctors. Seguin is moving his practice and 1,800 patients into the clinic.

He is teaming up with North Bay’s Dr. Kevin Blake, who is moving his practice and 700 patients in, as well. Blake is also picking up an additional 500 patients. Almost all of them have never had a family doctor.

“I couldn’t take on another 500 and you feel bad when saying no,” Seguin said of Blake.

“So that’s helped a lot. Absolutely.”

Both doctors are close to maxing out the number of patients they can each have. However, they will reassess after Christmas.

The medical facility is a $3.5 million build. Construction began last September before the provincial government chipped in $1.3 million for the project.

“This will be a growing medical centre as we have a third phase that is planned,” said East Ferris Mayor Pauline Rochefort.

The centre is housing a pharmacy, registered nurse practitioners, diabetic specialists, social workers, a dietician, social workers and more.

“Our residents don’t have to travel to Powassan to see our nurse practitioners, to see our dietician to see our social worker,” said Powassan and Area Family Health Team president Michel Champagne.

“For eons, the lack of medical facilities has been identified.”

East Ferris Pharmasave, which is attached to the clinic, is able to administer flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines. Pharmacists are able to refill prescriptions, assist in home care supplies, medication, counselling and more.

“We knew people had to travel a half an hour to get prescriptions,” said pharmacy owner and pharmacist Hazem Sharaf.

“We’re proud to be delivering our prescription and services free of charge for people in the greater community here.”

One section of the clinic is currently vacant and the municipality will look to fill it with additional health services down the line.

Seguin said he hopes the clinic will attract a third family doctor to take on more patients.