New Brunswick Tribune

After a walk-in clinic in Northern NB temporarily shuts, the community holds a rally

After a walk-in clinic in Northern NB temporarily closes, the community holds a protest.

Key Takeaways:

  • Residents in New Brunswick’s northernmost municipality congregated around a closed walk-in clinic in Dalhousie on Monday.
  • During the pandemic, the entry policy was altered to by appointment only, and visitors were needed to make a reservation in advance.

On Monday, New Brunswick’s northernmost municipality residents rallied around a shuttered walk-in clinic in Dalhousie.

The Vitalité Health network claims the closure was caused by a lack of resources and is only temporary, but residents believe the region’s healthcare difficulties are anything but.

“What’s next?” says the narrator enquires Leigh Walsh, Deputy Mayor of Dalhousie.

He claims the clinic, housed within the St. Joseph Community Health Centre, used to be open Monday through Friday and saw up to 60 patients each day.

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During the pandemic, the admission policy was changed to by appointment only, with visitors being required to contact ahead to reserve a space.

Residents, according to Walsh, throng the phone lines every morning at 8:00 a.m., and even then, they aren’t guaranteed to see a doctor.

Gail Fearon, a town councilor, claims it was difficult to arrange an appointment for her 100-year-old mother before the clinic closed.

“That morning, we had four phones going,” she adds.

“Trying to reach the line to take her in on my landline, my cellphone, my husband’s cellphone, and my daughter’s mobile.”

After a walk-in clinic in Northern New Brunswick temporarily closes, the community holds a protest.
After a walk-in clinic in Northern NB temporarily closes, the community holds a protest. Image from Global News

The shutdown is expected to last one month, according to a press statement issued by Vitalité on Jan. 31.

Since then, residents like Fearon’s mother, who needs medical help but doesn’t have a family doctor or can’t make an appointment, have had to drive a half-hour to Campbellton Regional Hospital.

According to Vitalité, attempts to hire medical personnel to staff the clinic are still underway.

Those who attended Monday’s event, on the other hand, claim they’ve been speaking out about the issue long before the closure this month.

Dalhousie is one of New Brunswick’s oldest municipalities, with a typical age of around 60.

According to the 2021 census, the town’s population is also increasing.

Walsh is concerned that what is being touted as a temporary shutdown might warn that the clinic will be lost to the town.

Source: Global News

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