Family clinic expected to ease burden on hospital

“It’s an important step for taking public health care closer to home”


Iqaluit residents can now visit a family doctor inside the public health centre.

The new clinic is meant to reduce the number of patients clogging the Baffin Regional Hospital’s emergency room with complaints of headaches, common colds and other non-life threatening illnesses and injuries.

“It’s an important step for taking public health care closer to home,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut’s minister of health and social services, during the clinic’s opening.

“I think it’s something that’s been a long time coming.”

The clinic is also meant to provide more continuity for patients — though without a permanent roster of doctors, it’s difficult to see how the new clinic will be any different than a visit to the hospital, where patients who go for a check-up are unlikely to see the same doctor twice.

The clinic is staffed with one doctor, Brenda Brennan.

Brennan began work at the Baffin hospital last fall. She plans to stay in Iqaluit until August, when she will return to her home in Ontario. She hopes a more permanent doctor will then be found.

The clinic is also staffed with one nurse practitioner, Robert Nevin.

But there are three more examination rooms, leaving room for expansion. Health workers at the opening suggested a dietician and a social worker could eventually fill those spaces.

Plans for opening the family practice clinic began a year ago. The Government of Nunavut tapped into $1 million in federal funding to start the clinic.

Regular clinics will also be held for residents with questions about sexual health or how to stop smoking. The sexual health clinics are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday afternoons, while the clinics on quitting smoking are held Thursday afternoon. Residents should call ahead.

To book an appointment, call the public health clinic at 975-4800.

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