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Fredericton downtown health clinic opens with aim to reduce ER wait times, usage

Click to play video: 'Fredericton downtown health clinic aims to reduce waittimes, usage of emergency room' Fredericton downtown health clinic aims to reduce waittimes, usage of emergency room
WATCH ABOVE: With the doctor shortage still a critical issue in the province, Jeremy Keefe explains how a new clinic in downtown Fredericton may help lessen the load on hospital emergency room doctors – Mar 14, 2017

Years of planning and renovations have now paid off as the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre has officially opened, but increasing staff remains a key piece of the access to medical care puzzle.

READ MORE: NB Medical Society says province needs to plan ahead for better physician recruitment

Recommendations from a 2012 Area Health Needs Assessment indicated a new and updated facility for medical care was required in Fredericton.

Now a state-of-the-art standalone health centre has begun operating in the city’s downtown core, upgrading from its temporary location inside the aging Centennial Building.

“This is an impressive day for lots of reasons,” said Jean Daigle, Horizon Health’s VP of community. “But more specifically it is around getting to the vulnerable population that needs help in this area.”

Horizon estimates the clinic will be able to provide care for three times as many patients as the previous location.

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READ MORE: No room in medical clinic, New Brunswick doctor sees patients in parking lot

Health Minister Victor Boudreau calls the creation of the centre, which saw the Horizon Health Network and the University of New Brunswick partner to deliver health service as well as provide a place for research in a primary health care setting, an example of the government getting creative to address a challenge.

By supporting the facility in its growth Boudreau believes more people will be able to receive care outside of emergency rooms, lessening the demand on doctors.

“We’ve actually increased the budget in the upcoming fiscal year by $1.3 million specifically to increase capacity here,” Boudreau said. “This is the start, this isn’t the finish.”

Boudreau added that success of the community clinic model in Fredericton could lead to the possibility expanding to other cities.

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