Quesnel Celebrates Opening of Primary Care Clinic
Official “ribbon” cutting at the Quesnel Primary Care Clinic – photo courtesy Northern Health
Quesnel, B.C.- It is finally open. Quesnel’s new Primary Care Clinic officially starts seeing patients today, about a year after the plans for the Clinic were being developed.
The clinic was created in response to the departure of four family physicians in Quesnel and possible departure of others.
“We’ll have two physicians, two nurse practitioners and support staff” says Debbie Strang, Northern Health Quesnel Health Service Administrator “We’ve taken a list of patients waiting for new physicians because we have four new physicians later this fall and one in January. So it will be fully staffed, and we will have our inter-professional team going in there later in the year as well to wrap services around the patient”.
The community care clinic model provides services in a different manner than has been seen in the past. Patients attending the clinic won’t have to be referred to some specialists as those specialists will already be working at the clinic “It’s an additional resource for the people that we serve in that it brings services to them as opposed to waiting for physician appointments in the traditional model” says Strang. She offers this example, “if a patient is in seeing a Doctor and mentions they feel a little down, the Doctor has the option to reach out to the care team and somebody from the mental health side would come to meet with the patient while that patient is still in the Dr’s office.” Traditionally, patients are given a referral and they have to go somewhere else for an appointment “This really streamlines health care services” says Strang.
“We felt that we needed to create the new Primary Care Clinic and model as another recruitment tool for new physicians coming to practice that might be looking for a different way to practice.” The recruitment efforts have been very successful with several physicians recruited to Quesnel since last June. Two arrived this spring, seven others will arrive by the fall, and one more will arrive in January of 2017. Strang says by this time next year, Quesnel will have its full compliment of physicians, something that hasn’t happened for more than a decade.
Strang says the clinic model also means patients can spend more time with their Doctor during an appointment “You can talk about two or three of your needs and start addressing them right away as opposed to a variety of appointments.”
Patients who are searching for a family physician can have their names added to a list, and will be contacted when existing primary care providers have capacity. The health care team will consult with patients who require regular follow-up for complex health conditions, such as expectant mothers and those receiving cancer treatment, to see if attachment opportunities are available. Priority will be determined on a case-by-case basis, as well as by an individual’s needs.
It cost about $900 thousand dollars to renovate the building to house the clinic, which is located on Front Street , across from the GR Baker Hospital.