North York neighbourhood losing Branson urgent care centre

Community members appeal to the province to save their facility


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Councillor Pasternak is trying to save Branson Centre at Bathurst and Finch

North York General Hospital (NYGH) is slated to begin closing its Branson Ambulatory Care Centre in June, ahead of the lease expiry in March 2019. After 19 years at the Finch Avenue and Bathurst Street location, the hospital is transitioning out of the facilities owned by Advent Health Care Corporation and back into the North York General Hospital. 

Ward 10 York Centre councillor James Pasternak and some members of the community are concerned about the loss of this historic medical facility and the services it provides to the area, including a joint assessment centre, medical imaging and other services. 

“These are vital outpatient services that this community needs,” said Pasternak. “It’s an aging community. It is a community in growing need of medical support.” 

This decision comes after careful consideration by the NYGH, which factored in a decreasing number of visitors, the ample availability of walk-in clinics and family doctors nearby and the costs of maintenance and upkeep of the 60-year-old hospital. 

“We fully understand that the Branson facility has a long legacy in that community and many people in the community are attached to the facility and what it once was,” said Tim Rutledge, the North York General CEO. “But we are making these plans to provide our services in the highest value way.”

Currently, the hospital is slowly transitioning the services out of the facilities and considering possible satellite locations for their outpatient services. 

“Many of the programs that we do have there are regional services, and the best location for them may actually be at Leslie and Sheppard because many of the people who use them come from even east of the North York General,” said Rutledge.  

In the meantime, Pasternak is determined to do what he can to keep the Branson building a working medical facility. 

“The first objective is to keep the facility operational, keep it going and service the thousands of people who rely on it,” said Pasternak. “The second option is to get another hospital to come in here and work with us to make sure those medical services stay in the community.” 

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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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