ALMONTE – The Almonte General Hospital (AGH) has a new chief of staff.
Dr. Graeme McKillop contemplated becoming a doctor while living in West Africa in a small house with no electricity or running water. He had already completed a master’s degree in Agronomy, but decided the crop science research he was doing might not be enough.
“I’d been thinking about it for a while on the back burner,” he says. “It was a good change for me. I think I’m much better suited for medicine.”
McKillop came back to Canada and completed his medical training in Calgary and Toronto, eventually landing in Almonte.
“I stumbled onto Almonte and it was a perfect fit,” he says. “It is a great town full of interesting people who were very welcoming to me.”
Almost 20 years later, McKillop is taking the helm as chief of staff at AGH and medical director at Fairview Manor. He is also a family physician at the Ottawa Valley Family Team, with additional training in palliative care, dermatology and tropical medicine.
“It’s been a fantastic evolution during my time here,” McKillop said. “There have been a lot of changes in how we deliver care and how doctors work together to provide cross-coverage.”
McKillop cites the family medicine obstetrics program as one example.
“There are now four family physicians delivering babies and providing pre- and post-natal care,” he said. “That’s rare for a small hospital and it’s something we want to promote.”
McKillop says he has also seen changes since he last served as chief of staff from 2006 to 2008.
“Now, we also have increased integration with our colleagues at the Carleton Place hospital,” he said. “The result is better utilization of services, including the surgical program. COVID-19 has really accelerated this and there’s even more we can do.”
Special thanks to outgoing chief of staff Dr. Christiane Deschenes who brought wisdom, common sense and a sense of humour to the role. She is retiring after 40 years of caring for patients.