November 25, 2015 - 5:00 PM
VERNON - As one walk-in medical clinic in Vernon closes, the door to a new one may soon be opening.
Plans are quietly developing around the possibility of a new walk-in medical clinic in Vernon following news that the Vernon Family Doctors Walk-In Clinic at the Fruit Union Plaza is closing March 19, 2016.
Few details are being released, but a Ministry of Health spokesperson says there’s some indication a new service will be opening up to fill the gap.
“What I can tell you is that we have been advised that no doctors are leaving Vernon because of this closure and we understand there is work underway to meet the needs in the community,” the spokesperson said.
The Vernon Family Doctors Clinic is one of three walk-ins in Vernon, the others being the Gartree Medical Clinic and the North Okanagan Medical Clinic. News of the closure drove up concerns in the community about access to medical care, and possible impacts are on the Interior Health Authority’s radar.
"It's not clear whether the clinic closure will have any impact on IH facilities or services, but we are in the process of evaluating that,” the health authority said in a statement.
A local agency that advocates for an improved quality of life for all members of the community is also paying close attention to the closure. Annette Sharkey, the executive director for the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan wasn’t aware of plans for a new walk-in clinic, but says it would be great news if there was.
“We’ve only got so many walk-in clinics so to lose one you know it’s going to put pressure on others,” Sharkey says. “Our concern is mirroring that in the general community about losing an important asset in health care.”
She adds that walk-in clinics are an important service for members of the street population, and says the planning council will be meeting with Interior Health to discuss a range of topics in early December, including the walk-in closure.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015