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Province funds clinic to ease looming health care crisis in Sault Ste. Marie

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Patients at Sault Ste. Marie’s Group Health Centre who were to be de-rostered this week will soon be able to access a new nurse practitioner-led clinic.

The Access Care Clinic will serve as a temporary service for the thousands of Group Health Centre patients losing primary care access May 31.

The provincial government is spending more than $2.8 million on the new outpatient clinic at Group Health Centre, which is set for a soft opening June 7.

“That clinic will be able to service 11,200 patients,” said Sault MPP Ross Romano.

“This is incredibly important news, extremely positive news. Those patients will be registered to Group Health Centre. These individuals will not have to lose their medical records. They will be maintained at the Group Health Centre and they will continue to be patients of the Group Health Centre.”

The new clinic will be located at Group Health Centre’s property at 170 East St. and will provide services such as urgent care, chronic disease symptom management and prescription maintenance.

Lil Silvano, CEO of Group Health Centre, said the clinic is an interim solution to the community’s health-care needs and is the first step in a long-term strategy to recruit and retain staff.

“We will rely on the continued engagement and support from our MPP and the Ministry of Health to address the primary care challenges in our community,” Silvano said.

“Our focus remains firmly on supporting our providers and recruiting new primary care providers, physicians and nurse practitioners.”

Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said the announcement will calm some of the anxiety felt by citizens who were expecting to lose care this week.

“This allows those in the most precarious situation at the end of this week to breathe a little easier, knowing that they will be able to go to the same building that they have in the past and get services in a way similar to how they had in the past, if not the same way,” Shoemaker said.

The clinic will initially operate Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Group Health Centre officials said the clinic will mitigate the impact of the primary care shortage while reducing the strain on Sault Area Hospital’s emergency department.

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