Vancouver

Opening of new primary care model in Whistler made urgent by lack of family doctors

B.C.’s family doctor shortage is now impacting the community of Whistler.

Town Plaza Medical Clinic was closed earlier in the month after two physicians retired. They were unable to find a new doctor.

In the region, there has been a significant shortage in family practices.

The Whistler360 Health Collaborative Society has unveiled a plan for a regional primary care centre.

According to the organization the problem is not one of a shortage of doctors but rather one that involves full-service family practices.

It states that patient care is so complex that it requires more thorough record-keeping and patient tracking. According to the report, small family practices don’t receive adequate support and staff are difficult to find and keep.

A decrease in family practices that offer full-service medical care has resulted in fewer doctors opting to do so.

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The cooperative society wants to create a place where doctors can treat patients without the need to handle overhead and administrative costs.

“What we’re hoping to do is attract and retain more doctors and nurse practitioners in full-service family practice, and we think the way to do that is … eliminate the administrative overhead, a burden that they face, and also provide an environment that is great for them to work at,” Carol Leacy with the Whistler 360 Health Collaborative Society told Global News. “So they can all work at the top of their game. No one went to medical school to be a small business owner.”

There are currently five to seven full-time general physicians in the village, who only work in the urgent care clinic.

It is hoped that 14 to 16 equivalents will be created to provide care for all residents and seasonal workers as well as visitors to Whistler.

This is yet another B.C. news. The community is now facing the loss its only medical clinic.

Since January, the residents of Ucluelet, a community on the west coast of Vancouver Island, have been trying to keep their only family medical practice.

The lease on the Ucluelet Medical Clinic is up at the end of May and despite the practice serving about 3,000 people, the owners saidIt is losing money, and there is no plan to keep it open.

“I think it would be detrimental to the community,” resident Alana Carswell told Global News. “It’s such an important thing for us and we have lots of people here and need the health care, so I’d be sad to see it go.”

Residents who need medical attention after the clinic closes would have to travel to Port Alberni, Tofino, or Tofino.

Ucluelet’s only medical clinic may be shutting its doors

SourceGlobal News