Bras d'Or walk-in clinic opens two late-afternoons per week
Dr. Bernie MacIntosh says it's a much-needed service
A family doctor in Bras d'Or, N.S., has opened a public walk-in clinic.
Dr. Bernie MacIntosh is believed to be the only physician in private practice to offer this service in the area. The Nova Scotia Health authority doesn't operate walk-in clinics in Cape Breton.
MacIntosh first opened the clinic in March for his own patients, but says it became apparent that it was needed by the wider community.
"Listening to my family, friends, watching social media, and just knowing that if any of my friends or neighbours who have kids [need help] and it's after 3 p.m., there's only one place for them to go and that's Sydney," he said.
The nearby Northside General Emergency Department closes at 3 p.m.
MacIntosh says most of the people he treats don't need emergency care, but many would otherwise end up at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
He says they either have no family doctor or can't get an evening appointment. "The Sydney ER is busy enough. If I can divert a small portion — perfect," he said.
James Pertus was among more than 20 people waiting to see the doctor on Monday.
The 20 year old travelled from East Bay to get his prescription refilled. "I can't make it to my family doctor because they are closed by the time I get off work," Petrus said. "I can't take time off from work, so it's good for me."
MacIntosh says he mostly treats young working families and handles things such as acute infection or fever in children.
He says many people just want a second opinion or to be reassured about their treatment.
The clinic at 15 Alder Point Road also has a licensed practical nurse and two assistants on staff.
The clinic is open from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.