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Accessing Health Care in Fredericton

by Taeyon

It is no secret that we have a dire doctor shortage in Fredericton. A significant proportion of the 50,000 New Brunswickers without a primary health care provider live in the greater Fredericton region. For those who have been waiting on the Patient Connect list, there is some help on the way. The Province has established NB HealthLink specifically to provide access to health care while you are waiting to be offered a family doctor or nurse practitioner. Medavie-Blue Cross has been contracted by the provincial government to open a clinic in the south-side Superstore exclusively for those on the Patient Connect waiting list. Now you will be able to see a health care provider if you need one, as you wait.
There is a hitch here. You won’t be able to make an appointment to see a health care provider at the new clinic until you are contacted by letter and/or phone to register you with NB HealthLink. This is taking some time. Please keep this in mind. If you are on the Patient Connect list and have not received this letter or call, you can reach out to 811 or go to the Patient Connect website to confirm that you are still on the Patient Connect list.
I was successful in my efforts to have more of our community health centres accept walk-in appointments. This began with the Downtown Fredericton Community Health Centre, and will be extended to the Brookside Mall Community Health Centre shortly, as the downtown clinic has been overwhelmed with requests for appointments. In the meantime, if you can get there, the Queen’s Community Health Centre in Minto continues to serve walk-in patients.
I recently had the pleasure to tour the Queen’s County Community Health Clinic in Minto. It is a model for what community health care clinics can be. It puts the community into Community Health, and lives up to the principle that a community’s health is more than just doctors and nurses, it extends to the environment, access to healthy foods, ability to participate in physical activity, social connections, safe and affordable housing, etc. In short, the staff are very invested in addressing what we call social determinants of health. At this community clinic, you’ll not only find doctors, nurses and the usual healthcare providers, you’ll also find a community coordinator who organizes community events to create opportunities for an active lifestyle, and connections for friendship and community.