The UBC Okanagan South Family Medicine Residency program is one of the partnerships that the Division of Family Practice works with to encourage doctors to move to the region. The South Okanagan Similkameen has a growing shortage of doctors. (File)

The UBC Okanagan South Family Medicine Residency program is one of the partnerships that the Division of Family Practice works with to encourage doctors to move to the region. The South Okanagan Similkameen has a growing shortage of doctors. (File)

Hospital district decision not the end for clinic funding chances

Interior Health will be presenting projects that need funding to the district board on Jan. 21

For years there has been a need for more doctors in the region, but on Jan. 9, the South Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District board voted to maintain their current financial model instead of budgeting for recruitment.

The staff recommendation that was presented included a line that specifically noted the model does not include funding clinics to facilitate physician recruitment, a line that was removed from the motion the board ended up passing.

READ MORE: Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District district considers primary care clinic funding

This is not necessarily the nail in the coffin for the RDOS supporting additional primary care clinics in the RDOS, a significant factor when it comes to motivating doctors to move to a community according to the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice.

The financial model of the SOSHDFP allows the regional district to provide funding to projects that Interior Health presents to them and that are designated under the provincial Hospital Act. Through the funding request, the RDOS can provide up to 40 per cent of the project’s funding.

Interior Health will be presenting their funding requests for the year to the SOSHDFP board on Jan. 21.

Regardless of whether those requests include funding for primary care clinics, there is still a need for more doctors in the region.

According to the Division, there have been 12,000 unattached individuals in the RDOS who do not have a family doctor due to their previous one retiring without a replacement, or having recently arrived in the region.

The SOSDFP currently maintains an active patient attachment list (PAL) where unattached individuals can put their name for the next available opening. The list currently has close to 5,000 names on it, and since May 2019 there have been 4,500 who have been attached to local doctors.

READ MORE: Funds sought for Okanagan man seriously injured in snowmobile accident

To cover every name currently on that list, the region needs at least five additional family physicians according to Julie Young, the member services manager with the Division.

Those five additional doctors would be on top of the 81 general practitioners currently in the RDOS that maintain traditional community family practices, each typically having a practice of around 1,200.

The Division currently estimates that up to 30 percent of those doctors will be retiring in the next five to 10 years.

“That translates to about 25 individuals, many of whom serve their communities in a variety of contexts beyond their clinic walls,” said Young. “They work in rural emergency departments, maternity clinics, hospital inpatient services and long-term care facilities, to name a few.”

To address the ongoing lack of doctors, divisions across Interior Health have been working on a collaborative recruitment strategy, while the local South Okanagan Similkameen Division is working with Health Match BC, the UBC Okanagan South Family Medicine Residency program hosted at Penticton Regional Hospital and with the Ministry of Health efforts to develop Primary Care Networks.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Doctors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid provincial park off Highway 97 Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
PHOTOS: Truck gutted by fire at Pyramid Provincial Park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Linda Sanky photo
Vehicle fire spreads to trees at Penticton beach spot

The fire is at Pyramid beach, off Highway 97 between Summerland and Penticton

Over 300 participants, aged nine to 99 contributed to this yarn bomb outside the Penticton Art Gallery, near the bridge going to the Japanese Gardens. (Penticton Art Gallery)
Penticton has been yarn bombed

Penticton Art Gallery is hoping to yarn bomb even more trees around town but needs your help

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Okanagan man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; Vernon man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read