A new three-year pilot project is about to hit the road to bring primary health-care services to underserved communities in Nova Scotia.
The mobile primary care clinic will be in Antigonish this weekend for students at St. Francis Xavier University. It follows a similar service offered in the Sydney area after post-tropical storm Fiona.
Patients attending the clinics require appointments.
Health Minister Michelle Thompson said the clinic in Cape Breton Regional Municipality was "energizing" for the people working at it and nimble in its ability to respond to patient needs.
"There were babies there and there were senior citizens there and all folks in between," she told reporters Thursday at Province House.
"And so it really was an agile access point to primary care."
Staff will vary based on need
When it was in Sydney, the clinic was staffed by two nurse practitioners and a community paramedic. It was able see 45 patients a day.
Tara Sampalli, a senior director with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said staffing at the mobile clinics will be based on community needs. It could include nurse practitioners, doctors, nurses, paramedics and others.
"We do look at each community as being very unique and the needs being very unique," she said in an interview.
The clinics, which are intended to be temporary, will be able to offer prescription renewals and treatment for minor health problems, such as sore throat, mild strains and infections, pains and headaches, cough, cold and flu symptoms and urinary tract infections.
It will not offer emergency services or laboratory and diagnostic services.
Based on mobile COVID-19 services
Sampalli said locations and schedules are being determined based on areas identified with pressing needs for additional primary health-care services.
The health authority has access to two public health mobile units and could also use a trailer from Emergency Health Services, meaning there could be up to three units on the road in future months.
"And if we see the need to get bigger, then we'll start working and looking at it," said Sampalli.
Thompson said the approach builds on the successful use of mobile clinics to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and testing services.
MORE TOP STORIES