Promising start for mobile medical clinic in Nova Scotia

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A promising start for the mobile medical clinic in Nova Scotia

Its goal is to improve access to primary health care where the need arises.

The goal is to facilitate access to basic care, and unclog emergency rooms which are often the only other option.

In a province where more than a hundred thousands of people are waiting for a family doctor, a new model of primary health care has emerged. In Nova Scotia, mobile medical clinics have recently been deployed.

The aim is to facilitate access to basic care, and relieve congestion in emergency rooms which are often the only other option.

Patients can visit them for problems of that do not represent an immediate threat to their survival, and for prescription renewals.

Tara Sampalli, from the Nova Scotia Health Authority

From Friday to Sunday, these mobile clinics set up by the Nova Scotia Health Authority were present in Antigonish and Halifax.

We have a lot of accessibility issues across the province, especially for primary care, said Tara Sampalli, senior scientific director at the health. The needs of citizens are many, she says, and a lack of health care workers exacerbates the phenomenon.

The first clinic of its kind was deployed in Cape Breton in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall in this region as a post-tropical storm on September 24. The initiative was already planned before the storm. It was a success, says Tara Sampalli.

Eric Coates, a director in the central health zone at the province's health authority, points out that there was higher than usual traffic last week in the emergency rooms of some hospitals in the greater Halifax area, like the IWK Hospital and the Cobequid Community Health Center.

The IWK Children's Hospital is very busy, for example. But since at this mobile clinic, we were able to accommodate several children, the IWK hospital tells us that for the first time, the situation in the emergency room is stable, mentioned Sunday Tara Sampalli.

The board predicts that traffic will not decrease. Mobile clinics, says Eric Coates, are designed to adapt to changing circumstances and be deployed where the need is greatest.

There will be other mobile clinics, he adds, in places that have yet to be determined.

Eric Coates outside the mobile medical clinic in Halifax on Sunday.

Eric Coates said the Halifax mobile clinic saw 55 patients on Friday and 69 patients on Saturday. He saw similar traffic on Sunday, when questioned.

In Halifax, MayTolentino was able to have stitches removed at the mobile clinic. She avoided having to go to the emergency room. She and her spouse, who do not yet have a family doctor, reported being pleasantly surprised at the speed and effectiveness of the intervention at the mobile clinic.

The As of October 1, 2022, there were 116,174 Nova Scotians on the provincial list of people waiting to be matched with a family doctor.

In recent years, several citizens have been able to have a doctor — about 3,000 in the past year, the province said — but the population has grown significantly, steadily increasing the waiting list.

More than 11% of the population is now there. In September alone, the names of 1,881 people were removed from the list, but 7,415 citizens registered.

The Progressive Conservative government, in power since 2021 in Nova Scotia, promised to improve access to health care in the province. The waiting list was about 75,000 when he took power.

With Paul's information Light

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