SYDNEY, N.S. — Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston today announced the province's first urgent treatment centre, to open Nov. 1 in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Houston, who was in North Sydney, N.S., says the centre will handle unexpected, non-life-threatening health concerns that require treatment the same day or the next, serving people whether or not they have a family doctor.
He says examples of problems the centre will handle include simple fractures, sprains, earaches, minor cuts and mild mental health issues.
The premier says the centre, which will require an appointment, is aimed at increasing access to primary care while taking some of the pressure off overcrowded emergency rooms.
Houston says the new centre will operate out of the Northside General Hospital in North Sydney until the new regional health centre opens.
He says planning is in the early stages, but it's hoped similar centres can be introduced elsewhere in the province.
"I feel the urgency for more (primary) access points across the province, and we are starting here today," Houston said in an interview Monday. "The variables are, is staff available, is space available?"
The North Sydney centre will operate Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Houston said the shifts will be split between two family doctors who are supported by three registered nurses and one licensed practical nurse.
The new Progressive Conservative government has made improved access to primary care one its key priorities. "There's a lot of work to be done to make sure people get access to health care," Houston said. "It's going to take time, but we are chipping away at it."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2021.
The Canadian Press