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FEATURE A COMMUNITY OF CARE In Annapolis Royal, collaborative practice benefits both physicians and patients – but buy-in is key By AUSTEN GILLILAND Staff writer W hen it comes to deciding whether or not to join a col- laborative practice, Dr. Simon Bonnington, a family physician in Annapolis Royal, N.S., has a simple piece of advice. “Decide if you want to work together. If you do, do so,” he said. “If you don’t, don’t try to force yourself to do so.” It’s a decision that he made back in 2010, when he and his family emigrated from England and he joined the Annapolis Collaborative Practice in Annapolis Royal. “Having come from primary care in the U.K., where group 12 March 2018 | doctorsNS practices are very much the norm,” said Dr. Bonnington, “joining a collaborative practice seemed to be a natural segue” into working in Canada. Origins The Annapolis Collaborative Practice (ACP) was formed in 2004 when three physicians moved their office from down- town Annapolis Royal to the Annapolis Community Health Centre (ACHC). There, they were joined by Jacinta Harvey, a nurse practitioner (NP). Since its inception, the team has changed. Dr. Caroline Hancock has been joined by Drs. Bonnington, Roop Conyers, Jennifer Cram, Julie Gibson, Jenna Hayden and Colin Newman, as well as first- year resident Dr. Hillary Lavelle and family practice nurse (FPN) Beth Bent. The NP post will shortly be filled by Erica Maynard. In 2012, the ACHC’s 24/7 emergency department (ED) was changed to a collaborative emergency centre. This broader collaborative grouping includes another local physician, Dr. Ken Buchholz; his office is located within the adjacent Annapolis Royal Nursing Home. Form and function When the ACP took over the southern wing of the Health Centre for their office, they were permitted considerable input into redesigning the space, which had previously been an inpatient ward. This enabled the doctors to ensure that form supported function. The exam rooms are clustered around a common printer and photocopier, which means that the clinicians cross paths throughout the day. This, along with a shared staff room and communal back-office space, allows the physicians the oppor- tunity to check in with a col-