A new mobile health clinic aiming to help the more than 100,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor spent the weekend at the Cobequid Community Health Centre.
The pop-up clinic rolled into the region with the goal of alleviating strain on emergency rooms currently facing high demand.
Tara Sampalli, a senior scientific director with Nova Scotia Health, said the mobile clinic is designed to meet non-emergency needs to help cut down on ER visits and lengthy waits.
She said as the weather turns colder, they’re bringing the clinic to indoor spaces with the van parked outside to signify that the unit will still be hitting the road to reach many communities.
“This is for low acuity primary care needs,” she said. “It’s not for urgent care, it’s not for emergency care needs. This is for when you have a cough or cold or you have things like prescription refills.”
She said they’ve been seeing a lot of children with over 70 patients stopping by on Saturday and more were expected to visit Sunday.
“We also go into communities where an urgent need for primary care is identified,” Sampalli said. “We are at the Cobequid location just for that very reason so that we can bring this level of primary care access along with everything else that is happening people receive this care and they also receive great follow-up.”
Paul Easton, the health services manager at the Cobequid Community Health Centre, said it was an ideal location for anyone in the Halifax Regional Municipality to attend.
“We’re located right off the highway,” he said. “So it’s great for community access, but for something like this, where people might be coming from further out, it’s great access for them as well.”
Paramedic Krista Taylor was on site to help and said it was a good way to skip a trip to the ER.
“There are certain things that people have complaints about that would be better suited for this clinic rather than the ER,” She said. “There is a backlog at the ER and there are long wait times as we all know.”
One patient said she was met with relief after 811 told her to try the pop-up.
“I had no idea where to go,” Colleen Mackichan said. “Please try this clinic it was great.”
Officials are reporting the initiative has been getting attention nationally with other parts of the country keeping a close watch on its impact on the health-care system.