The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

UPDATE: Port McNeill medical clinic closes then reopens as talks with Island Health reach a breaking point

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy”

On Tuesday morning, the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC) announced it was closing until further notice.

By the end of the day, it was open again.

After originally announcing the closure on the Port McNeill Medical Collaborative Facebook page due to “lack of support” from Island Health, and encouraging people to “direct all questions and requests to Island Health and your elected local officials,” the clinic then posted around 6:30 p.m. that “after discussion with various stakeholders and agencies, we are able to continue with services.”

A clinic spokesperson said the reversal was mainly due to pressure from the residents of the community; nothing has really changed as clinic operators are still struggling.

“(We want to) turn the business side over to Island Health so we can just be doctors. We want to follow the Port Hardy model, that way we can at least get people to work here and stay. The standard for health care in our region should all be the same.

“It’s been five years now and there’s still no commitment from Island Health.”

RELATED: Port McNeill Hospital was scheduled to divert patients to Port Hardy hospital Halloween weekend

RELATED: Local mom delivers North Island’s first home birth in 30 years

The main reason behind the closure is due to the clinic feeling like it had been left with minimal options.

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy,” the spokesperson said, noting it’s never been about financial compensation or funding for equipment. “It’s about changing the model [of health care].”

According to the spokesperson, this is the only medical clinic north of Campbell Riverrun by independent and private physicians, which is causing them to spend too much of their time running a business and not enough time as doctors.

“Port Hardy was in the same situation as us around 10 years ago, but Island Health changed the model which enabled them to get staff and doctors,” the spokesperson said, adding that Port Hardy’s medical clinic is in fact owned and operated by Island Health, which is ultimately what’s creating the lack of health care equality between the neighbouring towns.

Port Hardy’s population was listed in the 2016 census as 4,132. Port McNeill’s was 2,064.

When asked if Island Health has provided the clinic with any financial support over the years, the spokesperson said Island Health had promised to help them, but hasn’t committed to what was promised.

Island Health responding to a Black Press Media request for an interview with this statement:

“We recognize that with the recent departure of two physicians from the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC), this has been a challenging situation for the remaining physicians. However, family physicians are private, independent business people who choose where they want to locate their medical practice.

“While Island Health is not responsible for recruiting family physicians into private practice, for the last several months, Island Health has been working collaboratively with the doctors of B.C. and the PMMC to identify and explore options to create a sustainable model for the clinic and its physicians.”

Port McNeill Mayor Gaby Wickstrom said the situation is “concerning for us, especially as we are starting to hear of COVID in our region. So many surrounding communities rely on the availability of a clinic in Port McNeill. It’s been stressful for people needing to access care.”

Wickstrom added in a social media post that residents need to speak up and write letters to Island Health to help put pressure on all parties to find a solution.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ClinicsHospitalsIsland Health

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

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Most Read