Nova Scotia

Sydney to get new collaborative care clinic this fall

The provincial government has announced a new collaborative health care clinic for Sydney, just two days before a public meeting in Sydney will talk about Cape Breton's chronic doctor shortage.

1,000 more people will be able to access a doctor, says the province

Kathy Bell, director of primary health care for the eastern zone of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, announces the plans for the new clinic as MLA Pam Eyking and Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan look on. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

The provincial government has announced a new collaborative health care clinic for Sydney, just two days before a public meeting in Sydney will talk about Cape Breton's chronic doctor shortage.

"This is an exciting day for Cape Breton. However, today's announcement is not going to address all the health care needs on the Island. It is certainly a start," said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan, who made the announcement Friday on behalf of the health minister.

The clinic will include three family doctors, a nurse practitioner, a family practice nurse and a dietitian.

MacLellan says the clinic will allow 1,000 Cape Bretoners to get the care they need.

Two of the doctors on the team already have family practices here. The third is one of 10 the Nova Scotia Health Authority previously announced were coming to Cape Breton.

Staffing plans being worked out

The health authority will try to recruit two more doctors and another team member, says Kathy Bell, the director of primary health care for the eastern zone.

"We do have the funds to supply them with an additional resource. We're thinking it may very well be a social worker or someone with [a] mental health background, depending on the needs of the patients," she said.

The health authority will spend $400,000 a year on the new clinic, which will be attached to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital inside the adjacent HealthPark facility.

The clinic is expected to open this fall, offering same-day, next-day, evening and weekend appointments.

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