NS invests $17 million into 60 primary health-care clinics – Halifax

An investment of $17 million toward 60 new and strengthened health clinics across Nova Scotia is welcome news this National Nurses Week.

“As gifts go, a new clinic for Eastern Passage Family Practice and a new nurse practitioner is going to be pretty hard to top,” said nurse practitioner Erin Sarrazin.

Before now, she was the only nurse practitioner serving Eastern Passage and is glad to be expanding her team of one through these investments.

“Burnout is real, and it’s just really nice to have a colleague,” Sarrazin said. “Somebody you can rely on day to day and sort of have downtime discussions with, and also just bounce ideas off of.”

Sarrazin has a roster of more than 800 patients, which will now be able to at least double with a new addition to the practice staff.

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“Building new clinics and strengthening teams in our existing ones means more Nova Scotians will have access to primary care and more health-care providers to get the care they need,” Nova Scotia Health Minister Michelle Thompson said during the announcement.

Thompson says the new clinics and expansions could also prevent more Nova Scotians from being at risk of becoming ‘unattached’ to a physician, as new providers will be in place before current providers leave.

“This is really an investment in the infrastructure and, you know, we know we need to spend the money,” Thompson said.

“We know that primary care is a priority and we know it’s going to prevent hospitalization, it’s going to prevent illnesses from progressing.”

The minister goes on to say that the provincial government is committed to making an ongoing investment in primary health care.

“Having these teams where we can have not only the physicians but nurses and social workers, mental health professionals, we’re actually able to provide more care to the patients when they need it,” adds Dr. Maria Alexiadis.

A practicing family doctor for more than 30 years, Alexiadis is now part of the leadership team at Nova Scotia Health working to improve the health-care system.

“We’re actually trying to make sure that we’re not just playing catch-up, that we’re actually being proactive,” said the senior medical director. “These investments will go a long way in setting up where these practices and where these clinics will go.”

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Thompson says he is very hopeful that this investment will increase capacity across the system and have a significant impact on the family practice wait-list.

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