New walk-in addiction clinics accept patients in Brandon, Thompson

Two new clinics designed to help people with addictions have opened in Brandon and Thompson.

Rapid-access clinics supposed to connect patients quicker with the help they need

The province is aiming to help people struggling with addictions by opening rapid access to addictions medicine or RAAM clinics in Brandon and Thompson, in addition to two existing facilities in Winnipeg. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Two new clinics designed to help people with addictions have opened in Brandon and Thompson.

The province announced Thursday that two new walk-in locations, known as rapid access to addictions medicine or RAAM clinics, have started accepting patients at existing health-care facilities in the two cities.

The clinics offer walk-in patients access to intervention and community treatment programs. Typically staffed by an addictions physician and a combination of clinicians, counsellors and outreach workers, patients will be referred to other health professionals if the need is warranted. 

No appointments are necessary.

The Brandon clinic will be housed at the 7th Street Access Centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (except for Oct. 23).

The Thompson location is at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba's Eaglewood site. The clinic will accept patients Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m.

Two clinics are already open in Winnipeg — at Health Sciences Centre and 146 Magnus Ave. — and a site in Selkirk is expected to be ready later this year. 

The government has pledged $1.24 million to build the clinics, which were recommended by Manitoba's new strategy for mental health and addictions services, referred to as the Virgo report.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen previously suggested the clinics would reduce wait times at other health-care facilities, but will not replace the need for emergency departments for some individuals.

The sites are modelled after facilities in Ontario, which integrate opioid replacement therapy with primary care and provide assessment, counselling and prescriptions of appropriate medications.


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