Project at Quebec City's Jeffery Hale Hospital aims to speed up health-care access
The emergency room at Jeffery Hale Hospital in Quebec City will be transformed into a clinic for minor emergency care offered in English and French as part of a pilot project that is being touted as the first of its kind in the province.
The aim is to allow faster health-professional access to those suffering from an ailment not considered an emergency. Officials say this service will also help reduce the load on conventional emergency rooms.
"Half of the people who consult the emergency room could have seen another health professional," said Joëlle Boutin, the Coalition Avenir Québec MNA for the Jean-Talon riding, during a news conference Monday.
The Jeffery Hale ER closed in April 2020 and was converted into a COVID-19 clinic. The new clinic will open its doors on May 22 and patients will be seen every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
"Our goal is to respond to about 30,000 people a year, or about 6,000 more than what we did before in the regular emergency room," said Guy Thibodeau, head of the regional health authority, CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.
People who come to the clinic for minor emergencies will be assessed by a nurse. Depending on their needs, they will be referred to a specialized nurse practitioner, pharmacist, doctor or even a physiotherapist.
Thibodeau described the project as being efficient and relevant for the community. He said it is for people "who do not have a family doctor or for those who cannot see them in a clinic."
Patients will be connected to the health professional best suited for their needs, he said.
But to get this project fully operational, the health authority is looking to hire 14 nursing assistants, two specialized nurse practitioners, 10 doctors, a pharmacist and a physiotherapist.
"We are in the process of consolidating the clinical and medical teams. By May 22, we will focus on getting the staff. It is an interesting model for them and we are confident that we will fill the positions," said Thibodeau.
The six-month pilot project will be evaluated in late fall as officials look to gauge its effectiveness and the population's response to the service.