The Hay River Health and Social Services Authority’s current CEO has signed on for another two years for sure, but said he would stay as long as it took to complete the transfer to the new health centre still under construction.
“Two years will put us right in the midst of that change,” Al Woods told The Hub. “And I’m committed to seeing this project through.”
Woods, having taken the helm at the authority for several stints previously, said he was part of the team that identified the site in Sundog for the new health centre. He said he wanted to see the project come full circle and was pleased to be around to be a part of it.
While the new hospital should be completed in late 2015, Woods said the transfer would probably take place the following spring.
“It takes a lot of planning,” he said, explaining that health care workers don’t have the luxury of learning where things are or how to work the phones after they’ve moved in.
Instead, the authority is looking to rent out a large space – something like an airplane hangar – to train the staff for the emergency wing in the layout and procedures of the new facility.
“The staff have to know what they’re doing the minute they walk in the door,” Woods said. “And during the transfer, both emergency rooms, old and new, have to be open in case there’s a trauma situation.”
Apart from updated emergency equipment, the new building will be a venue Woods hopes will allow the authority to specialize in diagnostics, which would rely heavily on radiology and labs, and dental therapy. There will also be space for a midwifery program currently being developed.
“We want to be more community-based,” Woods said.
Woods, formerly the CEO of Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, said he was happy to be back in Hay River.
“It’s an intense job, but the pace is easier than Stanton,” he said. “There’s just something warm about this community and this place. When they asked me to come back, I never hesitated a second.”