A letter sent to Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins from the South Island Division of Family Practice outlines the urgent need for new primary care services in Esquimalt.
Written by Director Clay Barber on March 25th, the letter states that the recent closure of one of two Esquimalt medical clinics and the relocation of one physician to a clinic in Victoria has left 4,000 more patients in search of a new family doctor in the municipality.
This brings the total number of patients without a family physician in the area to 36,000 – a number which is expected to grow to 55,000 in just three years.
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“For the Township of Esquimalt, the lack of suitable clinic space to house these [health care] providers, within an attractive team-based model of care environment, is an impediment to recruitment,” writes Barber.
As such, he recommends that council make available both short term (6 month lease) and medium term (1-2 year lease) clinic space options.
Barber’s letter was received by Esquimalt council on April 1st, which is when Mayor Barb Desjardins stated that the municipality has made requests to the province for assistance in the recruitment of more medical practitioners.
No further details were made available about the nature of these requests.
Last year marked the closing of the Esquimalt Treatment Centre, and in 2015 the Westside Integrated Health Centre in Vic West was shut down.
This left the municipality with just one walk-in clinic at Esquimalt Plaza and three family doctors, none of whom are taking new patients.