Local physicians and nurse practitioners are hoping a new walk-in clinic will provide residents with more access and efficient care.
With the continual loss of family doctors in Hope over the last five years, its been a struggle to meet the community’s health care needs. Last September, Hope Medical Centre took over operation of Fraser Canyon Clinic and started an open access clinic, which was shared between the two sites.
However, feedback through the recent GP for Me community survey and forum showed people are still in need of primary care providers and same-day service. According to local statistics, about 11 per cent of people in Hope don’t have any primary care providers and another 20 per cent have family physicians or nurse practitioners out of town.
“By keeping that clinic functional through our own resources and some funding from GP for Me, we’ve been able to keep the space alive so we can then bring more physicians and specialists in,” said Hope physician Dr. Josh Greggain. “It’s a matter of giving people an opportunity for care when they need it at the appropriate time and place.”
There are currently six physicians in Hope and two nurse practitioners. Greggain said Dr. Benedict Yap and Dr. Saif Razouki are expected to join Hope Medical Centre in August.
“In order to bring new physicians and nurse practitioners to town, you need to support them,” he said. “You need to give them guidance, mentorship and opportunities to learn about the community and continue to learn medicine. That’s always best done in a group setting.”
Nurse practitioners Susan Lawrence, who has a special interest in youth clinics and outreach care, and Linda Yearwood, who has special interest in geriatrics and residential care, have been instrumental in filling in local health care gaps.
A prenatal clinic was also added this year, which runs twice a month at Hope Medical Centre, to help meet the community’s needs.
“Nurse practitioners can provide primary care for the majority of patients,” said Greggain, pointing out this includes ordering investigations, lab tests, x-rays and providing longitudinal care for patients. “So lots of patients who are reasonably healthy or have complex chronic diseases can be seen by the nurse practitioners on a regular basis.”
The new walk-in clinic is available Monday to Friday, from 1:30-5 p.m., at Fraser Canyon Clinic (222 Wallace St.).
Physicians and nurse practitioners will operate the clinic on a rotational basis. No prescriptions for narcotics or other controlled medications will be issued.
For more information about the walk-in clinic, contact the Hope Medical Centre at 604-869-9966.