By Mike Anderson

The Georgina Grace Family and Walk-in Centre will officially open its doors on February 22.

Located in the former Yorkworks Employment Services office at 20887 Dalton Rd. in the Somerset Square Plaza, Georgina Grace includes a family practice, pharmacy and walk-in clinic.

Dr. Paul Saad, a family physician and the centre’s owner, will be seeing patients by appointment only, from Monday to Friday and every other Saturday, while the walk-in clinic will be open on Mondays 9-5, Wednesdays 9-2 and Fridays 9-5.

Dr. Saad moved his family practice from the Georgina Family Medical Centre in Keswick to Sutton to open Georgina Grace.

“Sutton is a very under-serviced area. So, we’ve been looking at moving for some time. But we’ve finally found a place that suits us. It was more real estate that was holding us back for the last couple of years,” he said.

According to Dr. Saad, Health Georgina’s pledge to provide financial incentives to attract new doctors in Ward 4 and 5 also influenced his decision to open in Sutton.

“There’s funding for at least one physician and possibly more in the future,” he said.

Dr. Saad says the new space has allowed him to build 13 exam rooms and a pharmacy. He’s also planning to build a medical lab for blood and urine analysis.

Dr. Paul Saad

While he began seeing his existing patients on February 6, he says new patients will be added to a waitlist.

That’s because the centre does not yet have a full complement of doctors, as Dr. Saad is still recruiting staff.

“If you’re interested in becoming a patient here, call, and we’ll get back to you. We might not be answering the phones immediately because of staffing, but we’ll answer all voicemails. We’re working on getting more care up in the area. That’s what it comes down to.”

However, Dr. Saad says the walk-in clinic will have a “Locum” or short-term family physician on duty.

Dr. Jamie Munroe, a Queens University graduate, will come on board later this month.

“I don’t have a permanent solution for the walk-in clinic yet. That’s something that will evolve as we go along with Ministry and with funding,” Dr. Saad said.

Still, he is confident that he will be able to attract new doctors to staff the centre.

“My long-term plan is to have six doctors established out of this practice. Each of us will take one walk-in day. So, we’ll share the responsibilities instead of having a full-time walk-in physician. So we can have our patients plus cover for each other and the community patients.”

Although he admits it’s hard for small towns like Sutton to attract new doctors, he remains optimistic.

“It’s difficult. But one can only try. I’m putting the word out. I have some ads out and recruiters working for me,” he said.

He firmly believes in the old movie line: “If you build it, they will come,” he said.

Dr. Saad received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada in 2011 and has been practicing in Keswick for the past ten years.

Online patient reviews are very positive, describing him as a “wonderful” family doctor who is excellent with kids.

Once the walk-in clinic is up and running, the centre will also offer pre and post-natal care and a travel and immunization clinic.

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