60 new medical clinics to open across the province

Nova Scotians deserve to be able to see a doctor, nurse and other healthcare providers in their communities more easily.

The government is investing in 60 new and strengthened clinics that will connect more Nova Scotians to primary care they can count on.

“New and strengthened clinics will mean patients who previously would have to use an emergency department or wait to see a healthcare professional at an existing location will be able to get better care, faster than ever before,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “This is just one of a series of efforts we are making to improve primary care for Nova Scotians.”

This expansion includes collaborative family practice teams, primary care clinics, after-hours clinics, urgent care centres and urgent treatment centres. More information on the type and locations of the new and expanded clinics can be found at https://novascotia.ca/news/docs/2023/05/10/primary-healthcare-announcement-fact-sheet.pdf .

The government is adding eight new collaborative family practice teams, strengthening 26 teams and adding a locum support team. Collaborative family practice teams are fully or partly funded by Nova Scotia Health and bring together a team of professionals like physicians, nurses and social workers to address patients’ various healthcare needs.

Four of the new or expanded collaborative family practice teams will adopt a new rapid onboarding process for healthcare professionals developed in partnership with Dalhousie family medicine. Other teams will start using this process over time.

Six new primary care clinics will be added, and 10 clinics will be enhanced. Nova Scotia Health’s primary care clinics provide care to people on the Need a Family Practice Registry. 

One new urgent treatment centre and two new after-hours clinics will be added, and an existing after-hours clinic will be strengthened. These facilities provide urgent, non-emergency care to all Nova Scotians. Currently, there are seven urgent treatment centres and three after-hours clinics.

There will be five new urgent care centres. These centres improve access for existing patients of participating private practices. Several healthcare providers work together from one clinic location to offer evening and weekend appointments to one another’s patients.

Nova Scotians can also access primary care through VirtualCareNS, mobile primary care clinics, 811 and community pharmacies.

This is one of several recent announcements about improving access to primary care, including:
— piloting the Community Pharmacy Primary Care Clinics program in 26 locations across the province and the Pharmacist Walk-in Clinic+ pilot at five locations
— expanding VirtualCareNS to everyone on the Need a Family Practice Registry
— introducing urgent treatment centres
— launching a mobile primary care clinic that travels the province providing care
— expanding the scope of primary care services offered by nurse practitioners
— legislation to improve people’s access to doctors and reduce unnecessary burdens on doctors’ time so they can see more patients
— a team that goes to practices and looks at ways to streamline them so doctors can see more patients.

Providing the care Nova Scotians need and deserve is part of Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare.

“We are excited to see this investment in primary care. We know that these strengthened and expanded practices will provide better access for patients to receive care at all stages of life. It’s also an environment that will attract healthcare professionals, which is very important for recruitment.”
     – Dr. Maria Alexiadis, Senior Medical Director, Primary Health Care and Chronic Disease Management Network, Nova Scotia Health

Quick Facts:
— the locations of the 60 new and strengthened clinics by Nova Scotia Health zone are: 12 in northern, 17 in eastern, 14 in central and 17 in western; strengthening a clinic or team refers to increased staffing, funding and/or renovations
— there are currently 95 collaborative family practice teams and 15 primary care clinics across the province
— the initiative will cost $17 million
— in the coming weeks and months, there will be announcements in communities around the province as the new clinics open or existing clinics expand
— in March, there were 1,249 visits to mobile primary care clinics, 4,631 visits to urgent treatment centres, 7,021 visits to VirtualCareNS and 4,157 visits to primary care clinics

Additional Resources:
The government recently added more data about access to primary healthcare to its online dashboard at the Action for Health website: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth

News release – More Information, Better Access to Need a Family Practice Data: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20230414001

Mandate letter of the Minister of Health and Wellness: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-DHW.pdf

Source: Release

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