Gulf Shore residents asked to weigh in on state of area's health services

The Gulf Shore Community Health Corporation has published a survey about health services in the area, said Stephanie Scharf, a registered nurse and board member with the organization.

Preliminary numbers suggest need for walk-in clinic

The hope is to create a clinic if that is what the community wants, says registered nurse Stephanie Scharf. (sasirin pamai/Shutterstock)

A volunteer-based organization involved in health promotion in the Gulf Shore area of P.E.I. has launched a survey for residents.

The Gulf Shore Community Health Corporation published the survey in the County Line Courier, said Stephanie Scharf, a registered nurse and board member with the organization.

"Our hope is to explore and identify the health-care access needs of the communities we serve."

At the moment, people in the area only have access to a patient-only clinic in North Rustico. There was a walk-in-clinic established in Hunter River, but that is now closed until further notice, Scharf said.

Sometimes the wait time can be quite long in a hospital setting for a minor issue like a urinary tract infection.— Stephanie Scharf

"Currently there is nothing available in the Gulf Shore area, which is quite surprising considering the population growth that happens, especially during the tourism season."

There are 17 communities in the area, including Oyster Bed Bridge, Stanley Bridge, New Glasgow and Cavendish, Scharf said.

Short survey

There are only 10 questions on the survey and results will be sent Health PEI to assess what is needed in the area, Scharf said.

The survey asks if people feel the area would benefit from a walk-in clinic and how many times they have been to the emergency room in the last year.

Scharf said 86 per cent of the few hundred people who have responded so far say they strongly agree with the idea of adding a walk-in clinic. And 70 per cent are "lucky enough to have a family doctor," Scharf said, but 80 per cent have been to a walk-in clinic in the past year.

"So obviously, there's not enough services available for people that would prevent them from using a walk-in clinic or emergency room," she said.

We would ideally like to see a walk-in clinic that would be primarily staffed by nurse practitioners.— Stephanie Scharf

"Sometimes the wait time can be quite long in a hospital setting for a minor issue like a urinary tract infection."

Utilizing more nurse practitioners

A lot of people say they like their nurse practitioners, Scharf said, and the hope is to create a clinic "staffed primarily by nurse practitioners," if that is what the community wants.

Scharf said the organization is waiting on the results, but if there is a need for a walk-in clinic she has a suggestion of where it could go.

"There is an existing clinic in North Rustico that's being run by Health PEI and of course it is not being run 24 hours a day and all weekend. So there is certainly a space available that is only being used part time."

Those wishing to take the survey can cut it out of the County Line Courier and drop it off at Murphy's Rustico Pharmacy or the Cavendish municipal office. There is also a link to take it online. Responses will be collected until the end of June. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Angela Walker


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