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New Pain Clinic in Thompson First Step in Plan to Increase Access to Specialists in the Region

June 21, 2013

Province Providing More Medical Services Closer to Home for Northern Families: Oswald

A new clinic in Thompson General Hospital that is helping northern Manitobans manage chronic pain is part of a larger plan to increase access to medical specialists, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“Health care is a priority for the Manitoba government, just as it is for northerners.  This new pain clinic will eventually be a part of the expanded Northern Consultation Clinic, which will be redeveloped to attract and accommodate more visiting specialists to the region,” said Oswald.  “The result will be more specialized medical services offered closer to home for northern families.”

The new pain clinic has been up and running since September, when the Manitoba government and Northern Regional Health Authority provided $350,000 in new funding to purchase specialized equipment to treat pain disorders.  Since that time, pain specialists Dr. Chandran Baker and Dr. Howard Intrater have been offering on-site procedures four days a month such as image-guided injections to control pain caused by damaged nerves and joints.

“Doctors Baker and Intrater have been dedicated in championing and leading this comprehensive pain management clinic, which is the first of its kind outside of Winnipeg,” said Helga Bryant, chief executive officer, Northern Regional Health Authority.  “We’re extremely pleased to have these specialists providing care in our region.”

Since the clinic opened, nearly 460 patients have been seen.  Of those, 39 were scheduled via Telehealth.  Referrals to physiotherapy, mental health supports and dieticians are also available through the clinic.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton noted the Manitoba government remains committed to the further expansion of the Northern Consultation Clinic in partnership with the regional health authority and community.  A planned $2-million renovation will attract more visiting specialists to offer even more services in Thompson, such as urologists and additional pediatric specialists, saving close to 1,000 patient trips to and from Winnipeg every year, he said.

“Once complete, the new clinic will also include a learning centre to help solidify Thompson as a centre of excellence for northern medical training,” said Ashton.  “By helping to attract more students and residents to Thompson as part of their training, the clinic will assist in recruiting and retaining more health-care providers to northern Manitoba and ensure patients requiring specialty services are seen in a timely manner.”

The Northern Consultation Clinic currently houses specialists in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, ear nose and throat and surgery.  Telehealth consultations are also available for people living in remote communities.

The expansion project is in its early stages, with construction expected to start in 2015.

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