Health minister declares Quebec's 'winter clinics' a success

The province's special clinics opened during the winter to help ease the usual seasonal hospital emergency room overcrowding were a success, according to health minister Danielle McCann.

So much of a success, she says, that they'll be coming back next year — with a budget of $3 million to get them off the ground.

"I am very pleased to see that the implementation of the 'winter clinics' has increased the level of front-line services offered, whether or not people have a family doctor," a statement from McCann reads. "We will analyze the numbers from the clinics' first year so that we can optimize services offered for next year, to better meet the needs of the population."

The 71 clinics across the province were open between Jan. 14 and March 15, and according to the health ministry, nearly 30,000 patients visited them — about a third of which were in the Montreal area.