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N.S. has second-longest walk-in clinic wait times in Canada: Medimap

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Nova Scotia has the second-longest wait times for walk-in clinics, though there are signs of improvement as the delivery of health care changes.

For example, at many clinics in Halifax, patients now book appointments over the phone, which has helped with overall wait times.

"Patients are very happy with this arrangement, right? They don't have to line up," said Dr. Ruth Pacis, a walk-in clinic physician.

According to Medimap, the average wait in 2023 was 72 minutes. The national average was around 68.

Medimap is a company that matches patients with clinics and other health care professionals, and tracks the wait times across Canada.

While Nova Scotia's average is longer than most, the data shows the wait time was 11 minutes shorter last year, though it is still significantly longer than in 2021 when it was 44 minutes, and in 2019 when it was 35.

"Nova Scotia is improving slightly versus the rest of the country, which is very encouraging and speaks highly of the efforts being undertaken by the province, but it's still a story of deterioration countrywide that we have to pay attention to," said Medimap CEO Thomas Jankowski.

As of Feb. 1, there were 153,373 Nova Scotians on the wait list for a primary care provider.

In the last year, Nova Scotians have had more options for care outside of walk-in clinics, including at pharmacies.

"These clinics are providing a huge difference," said Allison Bodnar, Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia CEO.

"If we think about strep alone, there have been to date almost 24,000 assessments in pharmacy for strep. That's 24,000 people who would have either gone to a walk-in clinic or an ER," said Bodnar.

Medimap's data doesn't include all walk-in clinics in Nova Scotia — just the dozen or so it's partnered with.

Medimap did not include data for New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island in its report.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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