Although many patients are desperately looking for a family doctor, the phenomenon of private clinics with nurses is gaining momentum in Quebec.
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Clinique Sante 360 was created five years ago in L’Assomption and is staffed only by nurses. Doctors only come there a few days a week depending on the needs of the nurses.
“There are many clients who come to the clinic who have a family doctor but can’t reach them,” explains Claire Debre, coordinator of Clinic Sante 360. “Our goal is to start a new model and show that nurses can come in. Support doctors more than people are allowed to do.
The site includes specialized nurse practitioners, clinical nurses, nurse technicians and practical nurses.
“I’ve had pneumonia for a month and it’s not going away,” explains Nathalie Jonet, a patient at the clinic. “So we decided to come to the private clinic instead of waiting until 9pm in the emergency room.”
As Quebec supports free health services, many wonder about the need for these private clinics and worry about their growth.
“Currently, these clinics do not have a contract with RAMQ,” explained Luc Mathieu, president of the Order of Nurses in Quebec. “Patients who go to see these nurses have to pay out of pocket and that’s a problem, because it goes against the principle of universal care.”
The Department of Health has no statistics on the number of such clinics in Quebec.