The province has recognized the impacts of the current doctor shortage in Greater Victoria, and has announced steps to address the problem.
The BC government says it’s investing $3.46 million in short-term measures to combat the above, including funding to keep five local walk-in clinics up and running.
The “stabilization funding” will be divvied out to Esquimalt Medical Clinic, Sooke’s West Coast Family Medical Clinic, West Saanich Medical Clinic, and Shoreline Medical clinics in Brentwood Bay and Sidney, the Ministry of Health says.
A Friday announcement notes the funds will pay for more than 10 full-time family physician contracts for nine months, through to December 31st, plus more than six full-time registered nurse and allied health resources.
“The funding will support these clinics to remain operational while the ministry collaborates with the partners on longer-term solutions,” according to the ministry.
Officials say the measures are based on “significant local engagement” over the last few months through the South Island Primary Care Network Walk-in Clinic Task Force.
Throughout Greater Victoria, multiple walk-in clinics have announced permanent closures this year, including the James Bay Medical Treatment Centre, Colwood Medical Treatment Centre and View Royal’s Eagle Creek Medical Clinic.
The latter estimates around 100,000 locals are without a family doctor due to “the severe shortage of community-based, longitudinal doctors in the Capital Regional District.”
More recently, Cook Street Village Medical Clinic walk-in has closed up shop.
A sign taped to its front door this week states, “We have made the difficult decision to close the walk-in portion of our clinic.”
“This means we longer offer walk-in services to the community,” reads the sign.
The Ministry of Health says it’s now working with the South Island and Victoria Divisions of Family Practice, Island Health, and the Doctors of BC to recruit more family doctors to south Vancouver Island.
Together, the partners are also examining the potential for an after-hours call coverage service supporting local clinics, the ministry adds.