EDITORIAL: Closure will impact services

Clinic closure in March 2016 at least gives medical practitioners and health leaders time to form an action plan

The closure of the Vernon Family Doctors Medical Clinic in March of next year at least gives medical practitioners and health leaders time to form an action plan.

The Fruit Union Plaza location served anywhere from 80 to 100 patients a day and it’s doubtful they all can be handled by the other two clinics in town at Vernon Square Mall and the Real Canadian Superstore.

A doctor shortage is being blamed and although it is a private clinic, Interior Health is pledging to follow the situation and how it could affect local health care.

Good idea.

“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,” an IH representative told this newspaper.

We’ll help you along with your evaluation, it will have an impact and it will be considerable.

Although the clinic is advising this will increase demand in the emergency room, take note IH, a clinic representative is also advising patients to seriously consider their need and if it’s not more reasonable to wait and go through a family doctor.

While this may apply to some who can’t pass up the convenience aspect of walk-in clinics, there are numerous others who either don’t have a family doctor and can’t find one available, or will find the other clinics unavailable to take on the increased workload.

Certainly some cases will wait and go the family doctor route but it’s only common sense that this turn of events will significantly impact the emergency room at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Possibly the other clinics can adapt and take on some of the increased workload but it doesn’t take a lengthy evaluation process by a number of health professionals to know this week’s news is a game changer.