The Vernon Family Doctors Walk In Clinic is closing its doors in March 2016.

The Vernon Family Doctors Walk In Clinic is closing its doors in March 2016.

Looming walk-in closure disappoints

Walk-In Clinics of B.C. raises concerns about closure of Vernon medical facility

The closure of a medical clinic in Vernon is a “cause for grave concern.”

Mike McLoughlin, founding director of Walk-In Clinics of B.C., calls the announced closure of the Vernon Family Doctors Medical Clinic both disappointing and disconcerting.

“British Columbia’s walk-in clinics currently face an array of serious challenges,” said McLoughlin, “and unfortunately the only recourse for clinic owners and physicians often is to shutter their doors.”

The clinic will be closing its doors for good on March 19, 2016.

“The corollary is that thousands of British Columbians living in Vernon soon may be denied ready access to care when they most are in need of medical attention.”

It further has been reported that a major factor in the impending closure is the difficulty the clinic has had recruiting physicians.

“The province has launched the ‘GP for Me’ initiative to train and recruit new doctors,” said McLoughlin, “and while this is a much-needed, timely and innovative program, it only is one among many solutions needed to address the challenges today facing British Columbia.”

In September, McLoughlin appeared before the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in Victoria, and presented a paper with three recommendations to enhance medical care in B.C. by strengthening service delivery at walk-in clinics with flexibility in the cap on daily billings, allowing older doctors to work longer and providing more nurse practitioners at walk-in clinics.

“The fact is that about 450,000 British Columbians rely upon a walk-in clinic for their primary health and medical services,” said McLoughlin.

“It is a serious cause for concern when a clinic such as the one in Vernon is scheduled for permanent closure. Everyone in the health-care sector has to work together to find ways to provide high-quality and affordable medical care for B.C. residents when they are in need.”

Walk-In Clinics of B.C. Association, founded earlier this year by McLoughlin and other walk-in clinic owners and supporters, will be holding its inaugural conference at the Vancouver Hilton Metrotown Hotel in Burnaby on March 4.