Changing the definition of a medical clinic

December 3, 2012 - 5:31pm
Needle Drop Box - Chris Morin/News Talk Radio
Needle Drop Box - Chris Morin/News Talk Radio

A review of Saskatoon's needle exchange has caused some debate on where these programs should be located and if they are improving the situation in Saskatoon.

A report from the city's administration recommends the bylaw be changed to include needle exchanges in the definition of a medical clinic.

If needle exchanges are included in the definition, then they could operate in various parts around the city, said Lynne Lacroix, manager of community development.

"The definition of a medical clinic has not included needle exchanges, but that's now become part of our comprehensive approach to providing primary health services in a variety of different areas, and where they are most needed," said Lacroix.

She added if needle exchanges fall under the definition of a medical clinic then business don't really have a case when it comes to filing complaints of the needle exchanges.

"If you try to limit where medical clinics can set up, then you have a bigger issue in terms of access to healthcare services around the city."

Back in July, Lori Prostebby wrote a letter to council explaining her concern of the needle exchange operating out of the 601, AIDS Saskatoon drop-in centre on 33rd Street and Avenue F.

She had the opportunity to speak at the executive committee meeting on Monday and said, she likes the idea of the needle exchange, but she wants them set up away from residential areas.

"It shouldn't be in a residential area, they should be in a hospital setting where there is hospital staff and not close to the residents. It attracts the drug trade and we see that," said Prostebby.

She thinks needle exchanges should fall under the same bylaw as escort-services and massage parlours.

"It's in a residential-commercial area, it's too close to children," she said.

The executive council passed the motion and the report will now be reviewed by city council.

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