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(Photo: submitted through Moncton City Council)

Salvus Clinic continues services while searching for permanent home

By Tara Clow Feb 6, 2024 | 2:17 PM

Members of the Salvus Clinic provided an update to Moncton City Council this week.

The clinic was evicted from its Church Street location in November and continues to look for a permanent home.

Since then, it has been operating out of its Mobile Health Unit and temporary office space.

“We are still bringing the Mobile Health Unit out to all of the shelters and we’re trying to expand the service to bring it to other locations throughout the city. So we’re a bit of a puzzle piecing everything together, trying to do as much as I can as much as we can,” says Executive Director Melissa Baxter.

Baxter and nurse practitioner France Maillet Gagnon presented some of the numbers to council members on Monday.

As of December 2023, the mobile unit has served a total of 491 people, but Baxter says that number is a lot higher once you account for follow-up appointments including blood work, antibiotics, or assistance at other clinics.

They see an average of 31 new patients per month. Sixty-seven per cent of the individuals using the Mobile Unit to date are substance use treatment and recovery transactions.

“We try to provide services to people that have already fallen through the cracks.  It can be connecting with them to discuss basic primary health care needs, and eventually, once you build trust, you can start working on their mental health and addiction and other issues,” Gagnon adds.

“We are the only service of this kind in the province, which is providing primary health care, mental health, and addiction support to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, with wraparound housing support and service navigation. We just would like support from the city council or the city of Moncton,” Baxter says.

Baxter says they need a location that is around 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.

“I find this to be extremely embarrassing for the citizens of our city and even for us as a council. How can we assist them in finding a space so that they can continue to work helping people who need them?” Councillor Paulette Theriault asked.

Baxter also presented a proposed project budget of $350,000, which includes a full-time registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, peer health navigator, and operational costs.

Funding for the mobile unit comes from Horizon and Vitalité health networks and Health Canada, in partnership with the provincial health department, but Baxter hopes the city can assist with some of the future costs.

The city is currently providing a location to store the mobile unit, in the old fire station on Assomption Boulevard.