Search for a Penticton family doctor proves to be daunting task

A new Penticton family can't find a family physician willing to take on new patients.
Image Credit: istock photo

PENTICTON - Finding a family doctor in Penticton is next to impossible for newcomers to the Peach City.

Holly Stengel and her husband moved to the city in February.

“My husband and I split the responsibilities to find health care professionals. I said I would take on getting us a physician,” Stengle says. They lined up a dentist, acupuncturist and chiropractor with no problem.

"We don’t have any chronic medical issues," she says. "We’re just being prudent in getting something organized."

Stengle says she and her husband want to have a family doctor for routine checkups and preventive care, so she phoned the College of Physicians, who told her to look online.

“There’s nothing in Penticton — no doctors accepting patients — so I phoned (the College) back, explained we were new to Penticton,” Stengel says. She was told to try Summerland, where three doctors were accepting new patients. All three said they were accepting new patients, but only people residing in Summerland.

Interior Health Communications Officer Karl Hardt says in an email the hunt for a family physician can be a daunting task just about anywhere in B.C.

“It is important to understand that doctors are private business owners. They are not employees of Interior Health, although we do work hard, along with community and other provincial partners, to attract physicians to our areas,” Hardt says.

He also recommended those looking for a doctor to put themselves on a wait list with local physicians.

“Although it may not be ideal, Penticton does have two walk-in clinics for people looking to see a physician. Interior Health provides health services at the hospital’s emergency department for urgent health concerns, and people can utilize the 8-1-1 HealthLinkBC line to speak with a nurse any time, day or night,” Hardt says in the email.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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