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QuickCare Clinic open for business

North End facility features nurse practitioners and a range of health services for local residents

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Manitoba's first QuickCare Clinic is now officially open for business.

Located at 363 McGregor Street, on the second floor of Win Gardner Place, the clinic is one of eight that will be opened over time as part of an effort to enhance access to primary care.

Staffed by nurse practitioners and registered nurses, the clinic is ideal for people who don't have their own family doctor, or who may have one who is not available, or who currently go to a hospital Emergency Department or Urgent Care centre for non-urgent care.

While QuickCare Clinics are not intended to replace a primary care provider, it is hoped they will supplement that care outside of traditional office hours. "One of the principles of a QuickCare Clinic is to address access during evenings and on weekends," says Susan Stratford, Community Area Director for St. Boniface-St. Vital.

The McGregor Street clinic is open on evenings and weekends and is staffed by nurse practitioners, registered nurses and primary care assistants. Nurse practitioners are able to prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests and send referrals for other medical services, as necessary, says Annabelle Reimer, Clinical Lead for QuickCare Clinics.

The clinic on McGregor is located within an integrated community site that is already well-visited by people living in the area. But that doesn't mean the clinic is only for area residents, said Reimer.

"You don't have to live in the neighbourhood to come in. If you are visiting someone here, and need quick access to health care, our doors are open," she said, adding that patients don't have to be connected to the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre or the YW-YMCA that also run programs in the building.

The clinic on McGregor appears to be a hit with first-time visitors. One young mother sitting in the waiting area of the clinic talks about how much easier it was to get to the new facility.

Normally, she says, she would have to take a bus from the North End to the nearest hospital, Health Sciences Centre, a complicated process, especially with two children and a stroller. The wait in the Emergency Department for a minor ailment was another deterrent. "This place is a short walk from my house. That makes it much quicker," says the mother, who didn't want to be named, but who brought her baby in to have a fever checked by the health-care staff.

Réal Cloutier, Vice-President of Community Care with the Winnipeg Health Region, said providing access to care is an important component of improving the health and well-being of individuals and families.

"This service will help save area residents a trip and a wait in an Emergency Department when a non-urgent ailment occurs or when they cannot get to a family physician," he says.

Other QuickCare Clinics scheduled to open this year include sites in Steinbach, Selkirk, St. Vital and St. Boniface. Future clinic sites include west Winnipeg, Seven Oaks and Southdale.

Susie Strachan is a communications advisor with the Winnipeg Health Region.

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