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Need Health Care Over the Holidays?

Harvest Dinner Oct 4th, 2017

A big thanks to all the staff at the CHC who volunteered their time to help out with this amazing event. The event raised $1,565.00 to help support all our food security programs in the community!

Weekly Health Show with Trish and Adam!

Every Tuesday from 12:00pm-12:30pm on 89.7 FM Northumberland you can check out two of the PHNCHC staff Trish Bryne, Diabetes Nurse Educator and Adam Hudson, Community Dietitian on the Weekly Health Show. Each week these two will be talking to guest speakers and talking about everything from Diabetes to Healthy Cooking.

Check out the Podcasts:

Port Hope Northumberland CHC Annual General Meeting

Dr. Danielle Martin: ‘Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians’

Dr. Danielle Martin was in Cobourg last Wednesday at the invitation of the Port Hope Northumberland Community Health Centre. The Canadian physician is well known and regarded for her past appearance before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, as a champion of Medicare, at the invitation of Senator Bernie Sanders. Dr. Martin currently runs a family physician practice, is a Vice President with Women’s College Hospital, practices obstetrics at Sunnybrook Hospital, writes a column for Chatelaine and is a frequent guest on CBC’s National News and other programs.

Dr. Martin was a guest at the health centre’s annual general meeting where she told an audience of approximately 150 people that our system of health care is about more than money and medicine. It is about the values that define us as a society. In her book ‘Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians,’ she warns Canadians that in light of the debates taking place south of our border, we should never take Medicare for granted. She challenged the audience to fight back against the papers and books written about all of the problems with our system, and the cataclysmic predictions that our health care can’t be fixed without giving up on our values.
In her book she shares the personal experiences of her own family and her patients to refute what she believes to be exaggerated rhetoric about our health care system being in a state of crisis.

Dr. Martin recognized that while our system is not perfect, it works for most people, in most places, most of the time. To improve it we need to believe in the principles upon which our system is built.

She shared the very personal story of her own grandfather’s heart attack in the 1950s and how it hospitalized him for several weeks. His ordeal left the family financially and emotionally bereft and it negatively impacted relationships within the family for years to come. If universal health care had been in place in the 1950s, it would have changed everything for her grandparents and their children, said Dr. Martin.

Personalizing her talk to our community, she noted that in the Central East region, nearly half report that they can’t see their primary care provider within 48 hours of calling for an appointment. The 30 day readmission rate for patients discharged from hospital in Ontario is more than 1 patient in 10, with many being linked to issues that could have been dealt with in primary care. This is what she calls the revolving door of healthcare, where people, often with chronic illness, do not receive the support they need to recover and manage care at home, so they cycle in and out of the emergency department and the hospital at great personal cost to them and great financial cost to the system.

In her book she addresses these constraints, and shares her support for six specific ideas that we can implement now to improve care without significant additional spending, while reducing costs. She spoke of two ways to do this, using real patient stories.
She spoke of her patient “Abida,” a complex patient very much like those often seen at the Port Hope Northumberland Community Health Centre, noting that “complex” was medical-speak for having a ton of problems. “Abida” often spent her days in specialists’ offices and too many nights in the emergency department essentially becoming a full-time patient.

As her family physician, Dr. Martin noted that as their relationship evolved over time, she gathered even more information about “Abida’s” home life. Dr. Martin says there is much to learn about a patient’s health by having a better grasp of their social and personal information. Recognizing that specialists often give expert attention to an individual’s specific maladies, Dr. Martin emphasized that through a consistent relationship, a good family doctor can have an important understanding of a patient’s history, tracking their specialist visits, medications and even their time in hospital.

The takeaway from this story, supported by all the international evidence, is that relationships have a direct – and often sizable – impact on health and wellness. Dr. Martin calls relationships the secret sauce of primary care, and the foundation of care models like Community Health Centres.

Dr. Martin likens the relationship between doctors or nurse practitioners and their patients to forming a “relationship bank”, where the account accrues interest over time and can be drawn upon in times of true hardship.

The second big idea Dr. Martin shared with the audience is best captured in a sign that used to hang at Women’s College Hospital that read – “Don’t just do something – stand there.” The philosophy behind this being that it’s important to think about ways to reduce harmful and unnecessary tests or interventions in health care.

These harms can be severe, as illustrated through the experience of her patient named “Sam.” He was a senior corporate executive in his mid-sixties who led a remarkably disciplined lifestyle and was very active and healthy. However, “Sam’s” workplace would send him for annual executive physicals that are often delivered through private clinics where companies or individuals can pay to have access to a battery of tests. Here there is often a ‘just in case’ philosophy behind executive physicals, meaning that even slight abnormalities that are detected can result in the patient being sent to our publicly funded health system for more medically invasive procedures.

The procedure that the executive clinic recommended for “Sam” in this case ended up being unnecessary and resulted in a tragic outcome.
Readers of Dr. Martin’s book have challenged this story arguing that prudence often dictates that the detection of something that could end up proving to be a slight health risk would make these tests worthwhile.

Dr. Martin disagrees with this approach, arguing that it is not prudent and that serious complications resulting from unnecessary tests outweigh the likelihood of finding a medically relevant abnormality.

She told the group of attendees that to this day, many Canadians and their physicians are addicted to over-doctoring. There are too many tests, too many procedures and too many prescriptions ordered which costs the system billions of dollars and can end up costing patients their well-being or even their lives.

Dr. Martin noted that the Canadian Association of Radiologists reports that up to 30% of diagnostic imaging tests are either inappropriate or inconsequential to the proper management of a patient’s health. This means that up to one-third of ultrasound, MRI, CT or X-rays are essentially not needed. Dr. Martin told the crowd that even if the estimate is high this is a huge expense and asked attendees to consider their impact on wait times - if every wait list was shrunk by one-third or one-quarter, that could end up having a big impact. More importantly, the negative impact on patient health for those who suffer false positives, incidental findings, and over diagnosis could be reduced.
Some of the factors that play into this situation says Dr. Martin, are perverse incentives built into fee-for-service medicine and the challenge of dealing with patients who may ask for or even demand a test or prescription. She noted that a lesson that most doctors learn early on is the importance of CYA medicine – “cover your ass”. The fear of being sued by a patient, or even merely disappointing a patient who wants something can drive behavior in ways that are sometimes difficult to admit.

Too often both doctors and patients make the mistake of confusing quality of care with quantity of care – assuming that more is better when we know that isn’t necessarily so. She said that one solution is to foster closer relationships between family doctors or nurse practitioners and their patients.

Dr. Martin says that system change requires us all, community health centre staff and board members, community care providers, nurses, physicians, hospital administrators, elected officials and citizens, to push for the kind of care that will help everyone who needs it and not leave anyone behind.

She encouraged attendees not to wait to see the big ideas become reality but to push back against unnecessary care by asking questions about the care they get and give. She challenged health care organizations to support relationship-based primary care by designing services that are easy to access.

Her final point was a call to sign a petition currently circulating online, asking the Government of Canada to implement a national pharma-care program. She challenged all of us to look for ways to implement big ideas every day, in every part of our lives, to make Medicare – our precious universal health care system – better now.

At the end of her talk the Community Health Centre appropriately presented Dr. Martin, with the gift of a Bernie Sanders bobble head doll. The Centre’s executive director Duff Sprague said he was pretty sure Senator Sanders would approve of the gift and was confident that unlike most bobble heads, this one will only nod up and down in agreement whenever Dr. Martin is nearby.

Recruiting for Board of Directors!



Port Hope Police Service and the Northumberland Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with the assistance of Victim Services of Peterborough and Northumberland would like to make the public aware of The Volunteer Vulnerable Person Registry (VVPR) that is available to all citizens of Northumberland County.
The Voluntary Vulnerable Person Registry provides the police services in Northumberland County with emergency contact information, detailed physical descriptions, known routines and special needs of an identified vulnerable person. This information assists officers when investigating an emergency involving Vulnerable Persons.

click on the link to learn more: vulnerable person registry

Check Out Our Harvest Dinner Video!

Thanks to everyone who came out to support this event!


Royal Canadian Legion Port Hope Branch 30

The Royal Canadian Legion Port Hope Branch 30 presented The Port Hope Northumberland CHC with a gracious donation of $6,000.00 which will allow the Centre to continue to provide all the great care and services to our clients and the local community.

legion donation


To celebrate Community Health and Wellbeing week The PHNCHC will be posting a video of a client/volunteers expereince and why they think CHC's are an important part of a community. #CHWW2016

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The governing body (Board of Directors), leadership, and staff of the PHNCHC are fully committed to quality and safety and to the principle of client and family centred care.  Therefore there is a desire to seek input and feedback from clients and to partner with them and the community we serve.


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The Port Hope Northumberland Community Health Centre is a fragrance free environment. Perfumes, after shaves, colognes, strongly scented soaps or deodorants are not permitted due to potential allergic reactions by clients, visitors and staff.