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Emergency Department

7th Street Health Access Center Celebrates 20 Years

June 17, 2004 – – 20 years ago, 7th Street Health Access Center officially opened its doors, offering medical care and social service support to anyone in the downtown area of Brandon, with a specific focus on anyone living with persistent and severe mental health issues, newcomers to Canada, and under-served seniors.

7th Street Health Access Centre Building

Services available within the Centre at that time included medical care from a family doctor or advanced practice nurse; child and family services staff; public health staff offering travel health; healthy baby and STI/HIV/Hep C services; addictions counsellors; mental health counsellor; and service navigation to connect to services and programs in the building or the community or elsewhere in the health care services. Reception staff were also core services helping people access the free amenity services such as public use of telephone and computers, shower and laundry services, photocopying or faxing, or scheduling appointments. Community Volunteer Income tax provided free tax filing for those on limited income. On weekends, it had a core staff of a service navigator, reception and a housing resource worker, which was a slim staff for a large building.

Although many of these services existed elsewhere in the community of Brandon at the time, bringing them all together in one building and making services available during evenings and weekends was seen as innovative and unique at the time. Located downtown, 7th Street Health Access Centre aimed to offer timely services with a motto of “right provider, right time, right place,” and for those needing multiple services, the aim was to reduce the number of times the client “had to tell their story” with each staff they worked with.

Over the next 20 years, services evolved, client volume increased, hours changed, staff changed, services were added, and core services with weekend staffing remained. Fast forward to June 17, 2024, and 7th Street Health Access Centre is bursting with staff and services.    Hours of operation have changed from noon to 8 pm, to 11 am to 7 pm for many years, to 10 am -6 pm for a couple of years to today’s hours of 9 am to 5 pm, still seven days a week. Except for Child and Family Services and the public health services of Healthy Baby and Travel Health, the initial services we started with remain. Added services include: Community Nurse; Cultural Facilitators to respond to the language and cultural needs of our newcomer population; Dietitian; Homecare Wound Care staff; HIV Clinic; Hep C treatment; Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic; Financial Facilitator; EIA partner staff; Community Social Workers; Outreach worker; harm reduction initiatives and itinerant support groups over the years.   Amenity services such as laundry and shower facilities, public use of phones and computers, photocopying, and faxing have steadily increased in usage seven days a week.

7th Street Health Access Centre aims to be responsive to the needs in the community, especially the most vulnerable or least resourced and adjusts services and staff accordingly to address the ever-growing or changing needs. Staff also partner with many other agencies and services within Brandon and around the province to meet the needs of those we work with and offer services to. When one first learns of all that is available at 7th Street Health Access Centre, it has often been commented that 7th Street Health Access Center is “the hidden gem.” Although we have been around and growing and serving for 20 years, many still do not know what services and supports are available at 7th Street Health Access Center, and many do not realize we are a part of Prairie Mountain Health.

Welcome to our “20 years of service” celebration on June 17, 2024. Come and see for yourself what our Centre has to offer.  

For more information or to find out how to connect with a service provider, please call 204 578-4800.

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