May 2003
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New Fredericton Medical Clinic should ease strain on Health Care Resources, will benefit families and teens
By Lauren K. & Alexa K., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Frederictonians are getting excited about the opening of the province's first collaborative-care medical clinic.

The new clinic, which will be located in Marysville, is set to open in October of 2003, when it will be fully staffed and ready to operate. It will employ up to six doctors, a nurse practitioner, three registered nurses, and two clerks and will have the capacity to care for up to 13,000 patients. They will welcome and work together with any patients who do not have a family doctor in the city. New people to the city have a difficult time finding a doctor, so this will be a good solution for them.

On Wednesday New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord, along with Health Minister Elvy Robichaud made the announcement to open the new clinic. The condition laid down by the provincial government is that the clinic must be located on the North Side of the city, however they're leaving the exact location up to River Valley Health.

Statistics show that New Brunswick has the highest percentage of its population without access to family doctors. In the city of Fredericton the 10,000 patients without doctors will find this clinic of particular benefit to them. There will be no waiting lists, until later in the year, for people who want to attend the clinic. The reason there will be no waiting lists yet is because a new physician is coming to Fredericton in the summer and will be taking patients on his own.

The clinic will operate seven days a week, 12 hours a day during the work week and five hours a day on weekends. These weekend hours will make it more convenient for those who cannot go to the doctor during the week.

The new clinic will receive help from the government. They will get one million for initial capital costs and then receive $1.3 million a year for operating expenses. The Lord Government, since 1999, has increased health care funding by $489 million.

The advantage of this collaborative-care clinic is that it will reduce the strain on the emergency room at the Doctor Everett Chalmers Hospital where the majority of the cases are not life or death situations.

Ann Kelly, a resident of Fredericton, said, "I think collaborative health care clinics are an excellent idea. They particularly are helpful to people with chronic health problems who don't get the care they need by bouncing between doctors at the emergency room, or at after hours clinics. In my opinion, they are especially important in women's health care since most women would not have regular pap tests or breast exams in the facilities available to those who have no family physician."

River Valley Health has been speaking with 7 or 8 doctors, including new medical school graduates and physicians who are outside of the province, who are interested in working in collaborative clinics. These types of clinics are attractive to hard to find doctors who can work regular hours and get paid a straight salary versus long hours and a fee for each patient they see.


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