Eastern Health

Healthy People, Healthy Communities
Eastern Health, employing 12,000 people and serving a regional population of more than 290,000, is the largest integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador. 
The organization offers health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and other programs and services. 
The organization itself extends from the St. John’s region west to Port Blandford, and includes the communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas. This network includes over 80 hospitals and healthcare centres, and Eastern Health also plays a role in training health professionals and providing health research. Under the Eastern Health name, there are seven acute care facilities, six community health centres and 12 long-term care facilities—demonstrating a wide range of healthcare services and expertise. 
Eastern Health has 2,692 beds (1,696 long-term care, 987 acute care and nine observation/holding beds) and operates 30 community-based offices. Not only does this level of service require the best in employee dedication from all 12,000 Eastern Health professionals, but also a host of volunteers. Currently, there are over 3,200 volunteers working for Eastern Health, all working toward better healthcare. 
Investments into facilities
Eastern Health is able to run its healthcare network through the work of auxiliaries and foundations that contribute thousands of hours each year raising significant amounts of capital. These groups provide direct services and help to raise money to buy critical healthcare equipment. 
Recently, Eastern Health has reported several funding announcements that will improve their services. On August 20, it was announced that health services in Carbonear will see about $3.8 million in provincial government funding for the purchase of capital equipment, repairs and renovations for the Carbonear General Hospital and associated facilities. The government is reported to have invested about $11.3 million in the healthcare facilities of Carbonear over the last three years. 
The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services and Master of Health Admin for Carbonear-Harbour Grace, said of the announcement: “Our government is committed to investing in the modernization and maintenance of the province’s healthcare infrastructure so that residents have access to quality healthcare programs now and well into the future.” 
“The funding announced today will not only provide enhanced healthcare services, but will ensure residents in Carbonear and surrounding areas have access to these services in their own community,” he added. The announcement specifically included:  
$1.44 million for Carbonear General Hospital for a new CT scanner, which was installed earlier this month 
$799,000 for facility upgrades including roof repairs, a review of the electrical distribution system, medical gas piping, and fire and life safety equipment
$575,000 for the replacement of cardiac equipment including defibrillators and monitoring systems and the replacement of 20 beds at the facility 
$561,000 for diagnostic imaging, laboratory, laparoscopy, ophthalmology, bronchoscope and endoscope equipment
$174,000 for a sterilizer; $19,000 for an infant warmer 
Vickie Kaminski, President and CEO of Eastern Health added, “This significant health care investment is great news for residents of Carbonear and surrounding areas. I commend government for its commitment to improving healthcare services in the region. The installation of new equipment and improvements to infrastructure will enhance the quality of healthcare for patients at Carbonear General Hospital and our long-term care residents.”
Another exciting development was the recent announcement that the Bonavista Peninsula Health Centre, a facility which provides acute and long-term care services for area residents, will receive about $397,500 for new capital equipment, repairs and renovations. The funding includes $160,000 to begin upgrades to the domestic hot water distribution system, $120,000 for the replacement of the nurse call system $60,000 for bed replacements, about $36,000 for the purchase of cardiac equipment, nearly $18,000 for a new refrigerator in the blood bank and, $3,500 for modernization of transfer switches. In the last seven years, the centre has received about $2.2 million in funding from the provincial government for capital equipment, repairs and renovations. 
Continued support for healthcare
The good news doesn’t stop there. On August 31st, residents of Arnold’s Cove heard that the region would benefit from faster emergency and ambulance response times due to an annual $200,000 from the provincial government that will create a new ambulance base. Health Minister Jerome Kennedy said about the investment that “in times of an emergency every minute counts and the placement of an ambulance base in Arnold’s Cove will help increase the speed at which medical assistance and transportation can be delivered.” This service will greatly benefit patients in emergencies, and is being created as a result of a review of the ambulance services currently located in Arnold’s Cove. The new base is expected to be in place late this year, with operations being run by Fewer’s Ambulance Service.
By March 31, 2011, Eastern Health is aiming to provide health and community services “along an integrated continuum within both its regional and provincial mandates” endeavours to make more resources available to improve the health of people and communities.
Clearly, Eastern Health’s regional health centres and affiliated facilities are seen as critical attributes to the communities in which they operate. With a reach that includes 111 municipalities and 21,000 square kilometres, dedication is what keeps the Eastern Health network running smoothly, from Bonavista to St. Bride’s.