Greater Napanee residents will have more access to primary health care starting Monday, when the Lenadco Access Clinic (LAC) opens its doors.
Located at 310 Bridge Street West, inside the Lenadco Campus of Lennox and Addington General Hospital, LAC will allow patients to see a primary care physician to address urgent needs. It’ll run Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The clinic is meant to treat patients seeking non-urgent medical care, but don’t have a family doctor. It will also fill in the gaps for patients who do have a family doctor, but need access to a doctor before their next scheduled appointment. LAC will handle medical issues such as coughs, flus, rashes, tick bites, urinary symptoms, small cuts, ear and eye issues, sprains and strains.
“It’s not a walk-in clinic, it’s a connected clinic,” explains Kim Morrison, chief of staff at LACGH. “The records from primary care will be accessible and the hospital will be accessible.”
Physicians will also have access to patient files through ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer, a secure web-based portal that provides real-time access to digital health records.
The opening of LAC follows a successful pilot run of a walk-in clinic that was staged at LACGH in 2017. During that time hundreds of patients were diverted each month from the ER to the satellite clinic, making for less wait time for patients while ensuring ER resources could be used for more pressing issues.
“The clinic belongs in the community,” said Morrison. “I think it’s going to be great that we can bring all of the primary care providers together to run it. Unattached patients (those without a family doctor) will have a place to go and hopefully be able to become attached at least a little bit to primary care without having to go to Emerg every time.”
Patients will have the option of scheduling a same-day appointment earlier in the day and return at the designated time, or later in the week.
“We’re aiming to see around 24 people everyday,” said Morrison. “It’ll be open on weekends which was different than the NURA (Non-Urgent Rapid Access) Clinic. It’ll be open for four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Our goal is to see about 16 patients each day on the weekend. Between the patients who don’t have a family doctor to patients who can’t get to their family doctor, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to divert hundreds of patients a week from Emerg so Emerg can function better. This is just another piece to the whole access to the community.”
LAC is not intended to completely replace a family doctor and those without a family doctor are still encouraged to register at www.Ontario.ca/healthcareconnect or call 1-800-445-1822 to get on a list to get attached to a family doctor. Medical issues that are best left to a family doctor include narcotic prescriptions, insurance and disability claims and chronic disease or mental health follow ups.
Conversely anyone with a mental health crisis, chest pain or shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain, showing signs of a stroke or pregnancy complications should continue to go to the ER.
Getting LAC up and running has been a long time coming and required several corners to work together.
“It’s a combination of the support of Emerg docs, the community docs, the town, the county and the hospital that have all come together right at the right time,” said Morrison.
Monday’s opening will be a ‘soft opening’ and patients will have an opportunity to voice their feedback as they look to continue to streamline the clinic’s services.