The new HG Health Centre on Lazelle Avenue has had a busy first month.
Owned by Dr. Herman Greeff, the second new downtown clinic has registered around 1,000 patients since its opening Aug. 14.
Inside the old home of Terrace Interiors on 4610 Lazelle Ave., the space has been completely rebuilt to fit three corridors with 10 exam rooms, 3 public washrooms, a waiting area and boardroom, with handicap access from the back. Renovations to the interior infrastructure, new water, electric and heating systems took three months to complete.
“We replaced virtually every surface except for the walls and the roof,” Greeff said. “It’s a very warm, cozy and comfortable environment.”
Dr. Kyle McIver moved over from the Spruce Medical clinic to work out of this location full-time when it first opened. He was joined by Dr. Roberts Sunday Ugbekile on Sept. 5.
While McIvor has a full practice and will not be taking any more patients, Ugbekile has already increased the number of patients he’s seeing from 250 to 350.
“And will probably continue to increase that amount. There is still a huge demand,” Greeff said.
More than 500 people are currently on the clinic’s waitlist, Greeff said. Locum physicians like Dr. Selby Frank will be able to cover unattached patients until more physicians arrive, with three more doctors expected in the new year and a final candidate by next summer.
Because of the high demand, Greeff said the clinic will not be taking appointments over the phone or have a voicemail system. He acknowledged there has been some frustration with people trying to get through.
“We do answer the phones, it’s not that we don’t answer them so people can attempt to try. As the clinic expands there will be more staff and more time to answer phones,” he said.
The best way is to come to the clinic in person, Greeff said, so staff can take the time to enter new patients into their electronic medical record system. For people who aren’t as mobile and can’t make it to the clinic physically, Greeff said someone else can come in on their behalf and make an appointment.
The clinic is still in its early stages of operation, but Greeff said the demand for a new clinic was evident as soon as people came through the door.
“Some of them became very emotional and very tearful when they realized that they would actually get a doctor… it meant a lot to us,” he said.
The HG Health Centre will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Fridays.