How to access health care in Nova Scotia today if you do not have a family physician


A Halifax family doctor states fear of contracting COVID-19 should not stop people who do not have a family doctor from seeking the healthcare they need.

” We’re in a time of chaos and it’s very tough to believe clearly,” states Maria Patriquin. “So, I believe (addressing this concern) requires a high degree of clarity and simplicity so that individuals know what to do when they have a health-care concern.”

Where to gain access to general health care

There are numerous ways people without a family practitioner can access healthcare for non-COVID health issues while remaining safe.

The very first alternative is a walk-in clinic.

” They have really limited hours so it is very important to check their websites to learn if they’re staffed for a specific time,” Patriquin says.

Calling ahead is essential as walk-in centers are evaluating everyone looking for care to guarantee they don’t have actually signs associated with COVID-19 such as a cough, fever or problem breathing.

Another option for non-emergency care is calling811

Pharmacies are also using virtual or in-person evaluations for small ailments such as nausea and minor muscle and joint pain. Individuals need to contact their drug store in advance to discover more about fees for this service.

Pharmacists can also recommend medication for shingles, straightforward urinary system infections and birth control. Those assessments are covered by MSI.

What to do in an emergency situation

A representative for the NSHA said in an e-mail that people without a family practitioner should call 911 or head to the closest emergency clinic in case of a non-COVID related health emergency.

” I believe individuals are worried that they’ll be waiting a long period of time or that (the emergency clinic) will be really crowded which’s not true,” states Patriquin.

While some individuals are at greater danger of severe illness from COVID-19 such as those identified with cardiovascular or breathing illness, Patriquin says people shouldn’t await their symptoms to get worse before seeking care.

” The issue is that there are going to be individuals that will succumb to those diseases before they succumb to COVID due to the fact that of not having the medical attention that they need.”

It can be tough for people to understand if their condition requires going to the emergency room or a walk-in center. Patriquin states people can determine how severe a situation is by being more mindful of their health.

” If you’re 50 and you’re having chest discomforts and other signs constant with cardiac conditions, then the more secure thing is for you to seek the care of an emergency clinic, but if you’re generally fit you’re more unlikely to (have cardiovascular disease).”

When looking for medical info online, Patriquin says to always go to respectable sources such as Mayo Center and the IWK.

Interim primary care access

Earlier this month, the NSHA established interim primary care access clinics for people without a family practice in Cumberland County, Truro and New Glasgow

The clinics are short-term and will decrease demands on emergency departments by addressing health issues that can be treated in a family practice setting, according to an email from the NSHA medical care team.

The Northern health zone, where the clinics were developed, has the second-highest proportion of people without a family practice in the province, according to a report by the NSHA. The zone includes Colchester East Hants, Cumberland, and Pictou County.

Nova Scotians who live in these areas and are signed up to the Need a Family Medicine Registry can get in touch with the centers straight to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation with a physician or nurse professional.

Medical care gain access to centers in Glace Bay, Halifax, Kentville and Lunenburg do not offer this service.

Individuals on the windows registry are called directly by these centers, chronologically, based on the order they have actually included their names to the windows registry and according to the capacity of each clinic to see new patients.


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