The Yates Street Integrated Health Clinic will be closing at the end of June if provincial funding for more doctors doesn’t come through. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Downtown Victoria medical clinic faces closure because of doctor shortage

The Yates and Quadra Integrated Health Centre is likely to close in June

A Victoria health care staple is likely to close by the end of June.

The Yates and Quadra Integrated Health Centre has been in operation for over 18 years, offering both family practices and a walk-in clinic that’s open 363 days a year. However, a sudden loss of medical staff may force the doors closed.

“It’s been a very busy clinic in the downtown core of Victoria,” said medical director Dr. James Houston, “But we’ve got six full-time doctors leaving.”

Two doctors are returning to their homeland, Ireland, while another doctor is retiring after 40 years of practice. With three doctors down, the clinic is unsustainable, forcing another three doctors to search for positions at alternative clinics beginning in June.

ALSO READ: Clinic closure leaves Sidney with one walk-in option

As the doctors gradually leave starting on April 19, the walk-in patient load is likely to swell from its current 372 patients per week up to 584 per week.

Finding replacement staff has not been easy.

“It’s near impossible to recruit more doctor’s at a community clinic,” Houston said. “If a new student takes up a job at the hospital they earn 30 to 40 per cent more, and work less hours.”

Still, Houston has managed to recruit three more doctors for the clinic to begin at the end of June with a caveat: he needs funding from the province.

“I’ve requested $23,000 per month from the ministry,” Houston said. “If those patients were to go to the emergency it would cost four times as much for the exact same thing.”

ALSO READ: Victoria doctor forced into early retirement as specialist moves into rental space

Houston said he initially put the request in to several provincial leaders in January, including to Finance Minister Carole James and Health Minister Adrian Dix, but has not heard back.

Houston said that the province is focusing on more primary care centres, such as the new Westshore Primary Care Centre, but that resources aren’t being distributed strategically.

“The Westshore clinic isn’t functioning well because they can’t recruit the doctors; I’ve got the doctors but I don’t have the funding,” Houston said.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

Comparatively, the Westshore clinic sees an average of 375 patients per week.

Houston said if he doesn’t hear back from the province very soon, he’ll have to tell his new recruits to look elsewhere.

“I’ve been running this clinic for almost 19 years,” Houston said. “I feel bad for the patients, and they may be mad at me, but I’ve tried everything I can.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

Oak Bay grants 60 days of protection for century-old mansion

J.W. Morris House slated for removal by Abstract Developments

Saanich police ask for public’s help locating missing high risk youth

The 12-year-old was last seen before school on Monday morning

Ogden Point officially rebranded as The Breakwater District

New signage and logos accompany plans for the area’s future

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

Most Read