The Nova Scotia government is pledging up to $300,000 to establish a new collaborative health-care clinic in Bridgewater, to open as early as this spring.
Patients who are currently depending on the community's emergency room for their health-care needs say the help can't come soon enough.
"It's not easy," said Don Rhodenhizer, who visits the emergency room for his pain medication. "You got to get in line for hours."
"It's a big hassle, you don't know when you're going to get home," said his wife, Elizabeth.
The situation is particularly acute because an elderly family doctor in the area suspended his practice indefinitely over the Christmas holidays. That doctor had approximately 5,000 patients.
"I've been waiting three years for a doctor," said Mark Delorey. "I have a serious heart condition."
Delorey also has to wait in the emergency room for his medication.
"I think the premier is falling down badly. He promised us doctors. We're not getting them at all, we're losing them," he said.
Dexter announces plan
Premier Darrell Dexter, who was in Bridgewater on Monday to announce the new health-care centre, said the government will spend between $200,000 and $300,000 to open the clinic.
Dexter said the clinic would provide immediate assistance to the families who have to go to the hospital.
"In fact, it will remove the need to go to the emergency room to get assistance they would otherwise get from a primary care provider," he told reporters.
The Nova Scotia government believes the centre will also make it easier to recruit family doctors to the area.
In the short term, a day clinic at the hospital will be expanded to ease the immediate pressure.