New health clinic in Kingston for families of newborns without a family doctor

Having a newborn baby can be a stressful time for parents, especially when many people, including new parents, find themselves without a family doctor.

A new program from the Queen’s University School of Nursing, in partnership with Kingston Community Health Centers (KCHC) and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health is aiming to help fill the gap by creating the Partnership for Well Baby Care.

Charles Leopold is using the new clinic for his two-month-old. Having a place to bring him for his routine immunizations is a huge relief.

“We feel so lucky,” he explains.

He says the family has been without a doctor for years, and he says the clinic is needed for those in positions like he is.

“We have been told that we need to have a family doctor because during his milestones he needs to be taken care of,” Leopold said. “(It is) a really, really helpful system.”

Each month, an estimated 20 babies born in the Kingston region are not attached to a family doctor.

The clinic will be staffed with nurse practitioners from Queen’s University; it will also serve as a place for teaching nursing students.

Ally Forsyth, a nurse practitioner at the clinic, says it will provide a place for immunizations, infant physical assessments, and a place for new parents to ask questions.

“Obviously can be extremely anxiety provoking for new parents, especially if this is their first baby, when you’re discharged from the hospital,” Forsyth said in an interview with CTV News Ottawa. “When you’re discharged from the hospital they have the opportunity to come in, sit with somebody, ask questions and know their baby is healthy from their head to their toes.”

The health unit says babies having access to a physician is a safety requirement by hospitals, and it can be hard for parents to know where to turn.

The health unit has provided routine immunizations for years for children, but they couldn’t provide further comprehensive clinical care, explains Dr. Piotr Oglaza, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

This collaborates on care, as the doctor shortage crisis deepens.

“We bring a public health perspective, our clinician colleagues bring that perspective,” Dr. Oglaza said. “And we all stay within our scope, but we understand that it’s a one-stop shop for those families without access to primary care.”

It will be operated by three primary care nurse practitioners (NP) from the Queen’s University School of Nursing and supported by nurses from KFL&A Public Health. Children who are found to need specialized care will be directed to a paediatrician, or a specialist. Dr. Oglaza says if children need immediate care, parents should take their child for urgent care at the Hotel Dieu or the emergency room at Kingston General Hospital.

The clinic is open twice a week inside the KFL&A Public Health Unit Offices at 221 Portsmouth Ave., and parents who live in the Kingston-region can book online at =83fc47ab-1440-4eb8-9c47-17a8d020c3de#/online-booking or by calling 613-484-7732 and reception staff will return your call within 24-48 hours.