Interior Health reassures residents

Authority clarifies physician situation in Enderby

After reading the article and editorial in the Nov. 16 edition of The Morning Star regarding the physician situation in Enderby, I felt it was important to provide some clarity and assurance to area residents.

There are currently two health clinics providing access to physician services, the Interior Health Authority’s Enderby Community Health Centre and a private clinic.

The Enderby Community Health Centre is currently without a permanent physician. However, physician services are still available. IHA has been able to staff the health centre with a regular complement of locum family physicians since the last permanent physician left and we anticipate this situation will continue until a new full-time physician starts next summer.

There are also regular clinics held by specialist physicians that continue.

The health centre is also fortunate to have a full-time nurse practitioner to provide primary care to patients, which includes routine check-ups, diagnosing and managing acute and chronic illnesses, prescribing medications, ordering diagnostic tests and referring to specialists.

The full-time physician IHA recently recruited is anticipated to begin work at the health centre next August, and we are currently in discussion with other potential candidates interested in relocating to Enderby this spring.

Recruitment of family physicians is a high priority for IHA. We are working with physicians, elected officials and stakeholders in many communities, offering incentives to bring qualified people to their area and developing long term, sustainable solutions.

We also profile these communities, including Enderby, through a variety of media (medical journals, www.healthmatchbc.org, social media etc.) and at medical conferences throughout the country.

For example, IHA was present at Family Medicine Forum 2012, the annual meeting of the Canadian College of Family Physicians (http://fmf.cfpc.ca).

I myself work at the Enderby Health Centre and can confidently say that this is a desirable environment for physicians.

I am confident that through continued collaborative recruitment efforts with the community, other physicians will choose to move to the area with their families and call it home.

Dr. Alan Stewart

IHA senior medical director