HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says he’s proud to stand with the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command of the Royal Canadian Legion and fight for proper care for our veterans.
Today, Baillie was joined by Retired Canadian Army Sergeant Roland Lawless, Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command of the Royal Canadian Legion President, Steve Wessel, and members of the military and veterans community to call on all levels of government to open the Veterans’ Memorial Walk-In Clinic.
“This is the right thing to do,” says Baillie. “These men and women served our country and have come home wounded in ways that we cannot always see. Nova Scotians expect us to support our veterans. It’s how we thank them for their sacrifices and their service.”
The Veterans’ Memorial Walk-In Clinic would be located at the Camp Hill site and would offer veterans access to primary health care in a veteran-centred facility. It recognizes and removes barriers to care, particularly for veterans who are having difficulties using regular clinics and emergency rooms because of PTSD, triggers, and operational stress disorders. Both the federal and provincial governments have a role to play, and Baillie is calling on both those levels of government to step up to the plate.
Mr. Lawless served our country in Croatia and Bosnia. As a veteran with PTSD, he knows first-hand the challenges of dealing with civilian clinics and emergency rooms.
“What’s happening now isn’t working and our veterans deserve better,” says Lawless. “Emergency rooms and clinics can be chaotic for veterans. We know they’re simply not seeking medical attention even when they need it because they’re avoiding the risk of triggers and setbacks. This is about the health care that these men and women deserve as Canadians.”
Mr. Wessel says this project has the support of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“We are their allies in this, but we need everyone to come on board and get this clinic open as soon as possible,” he says. “The infrastructure is there and so is the need. This a veteran-led initiative. They know what they need. It’s time for governments to listen to them.”
All parties involved are quick to offer their appreciation for medical staff, but the current model is failing our veterans. The Veterans Walk-In Clinic model provides an accessible, personal, simple and highly culturally-relevant strategy for the physical and mental health services of individuals who often find their needs aren’t met sufficiently and sensitively in the civilian health care model. The side effects of this can be tragic.
This would be the first clinic of its kind in Canada.
“Nova Scotia has an opportunity to be a leader in veterans’ care,” says Baillie. “This is a chance turn our gratitude into action, and to say to our veterans that we appreciate what you did for us, and now it’s our turn to take care of you.”
Nova Scotia has the highest concentration of veterans per capita in the country.