Clinic closure leaves Sidney with one walk-in option

The impending closure of one of the two remaining walk-in clinics in Sidney has patients upset and wondering what impact the closure will have on their ability to access medical care.

Associated Physicians, a clinic that operated with three doctors with their own practices, had also offered a walk-in portion to their practice. Those doctors will be merging with Ocean Pier Medical at the end of August and will cease to see walk-in patients.

The move comes on the heels of the retirement of three other family physicians in Sidney over the past year, which again left scores of patients without a family doctor and left with little choice but to use a walk-in clinic for care.

The closure of the Associated Physicians Walk-in will leave the last remaining walk-in service at Peninsula Medical feeling even more overwhelmed.

According to the office manager at Peninsula Medical, the clinic regularly has patients waiting “in droves” for the clinic to open and, by 8:30 a.m. they are booking walk -in appointments for late in the afternoon. Some may not be seen that day and will have to try again the following day.

But, according to Dr. Andrea Lewis of Peninsula Medical, the situation regarding walk-in services is just a symptom of a far greater need to fundamentally change the way that medical care is delivered.

“We still operate a walk-in clinic portion of our practice, but we’ve been working very hard to change the way services are delivered to make the best use of the family practitioners in the community (and reduce the need for walk-ins),” said Lewis.

“We can graduate more doctors, of course, but there is no way of knowing if those doctors will choose to go into a traditional role as a family practitioner within a traditional office setting.” There are a lot of more attractive alternatives available for them working in hospitals, walk-in clinics, O.R. assists and elsewhere.

She said that, in order to make family practice more attractive, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way care is provided and that family doctors need to be part of a team approach to the provision of care.

That’s why the Ministry of Health has committed to not only provide funding for up to 200 new general practitioners to work in team-based care but also has invested $115 million to fund 200 additional nurse-practitioners across the province.

According to Lewis, her clinic has been working toward the team based care model for a decade and will continue to move in that direction.

“In the team based model a patient will make an appointment and will perhaps first see a nurse-practitioner with expertise in primary care. They may have their blood pressure measured, for example, and have a discussion with the nurse about what the problems may be and some options for care. The doctor can then see that patient for the last five minutes to go over the care plan and provide any addition care that their unique skill sets can contribute,” explained Lewis.

“Or, instead of a nurse, the patient may have questions about their medication and will first see the pharmacist or perhaps they need to speak to a counsellor. Doctors have a skill set that can be best utilized in otter areas, freeing them to see more patients within that team based model as well as access to supports in diagnosis and in difficult cases.”

Lewis said that, by utilizing this model, her clinic at Peninsula Medical have been able to attract four new family physicians in the past two years, and hope to attract even more in the coming year.

“The old model is just not sustainable. Doctors go into family practice because they want to help patients and the community but with the traditional model of delivery of care, that was becoming ever more difficult,” she said.

“We want to be able to deliver a good level of care to the community while still allowing our physicians with the quality of life that they need in order to do their job. The team based model lets us do that.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

New BC Ferries hybrid-electric vessels arrive in Victoria

BC Ferries plans to add four more hybrid-electric vessels to fleet

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers sees 37 per cent increase in tips in 2019

The non-profit takes anonymous tips from the public, brings information to police

Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke nations join more than 50 other members in South Island Prosperity Partnership

Chiefs look forward to creating ‘sustainable future’ for next generations

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read