Advertisement

Centralized waitlist helping connect people with doctors, says South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice

South Okanagan Care Providers

A primary care network in B.C.’s Southern Interior is claiming that more 1,000 people without a family doctor have found care in the past six months.

The South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Division of Family Practice says thanks to its centralized regional waitlist, 1,057 patients were attached to a primary-care provider between April 1 and Sept. 10.

But, according to the SOS Division, 11,000-plus people in Penticton, Summerland and Okanagan Falls are still without a primary-care provider.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP creating Primary Care Networks to help British Columbians access healthcare

The SOS Division says people looking for a primary-care provider in the area should enroll in its regional waitlist, and that it is working on many fronts to attract new physicians and nurse practitioners to the region.

In a press release issued by SOS Division, a former Edmonton woman who relocated to the South Okanagan said she was “incredibly lucky” to find a primary-care provider in the area.

Story continues below advertisement

“Finding health care was one of our biggest concerns moving here from Edmonton,” said Jan Kostek. “We’d heard about the physician shortage, and we had no connections.

“I read about the list in the newspaper, so I went online and filled out the application. My husband and I got a call while shopping. We were told we’d been placed with a provider and a first appointment was booked.”

UBC addressing Okanagan doctor shortage by training physicians in rural communities
UBC addressing Okanagan doctor shortage by training physicians in rural communities

The SOS Division said that the regional waitlist is a first-come, first-served basis.

However, it noted that due to the ongoing physician shortage, it’s unknown how long patients will have to wait before being seen, adding of Oct. 28, that “we are working to attach patients who signed up in June 2019.”

In related news, the SOS Division also said a team-based primary care clinic will be opening on Nov. 4, and will feature six family physicians, two nurse practitioners and two specialists.

“The goal of the clinic is to strengthen team-based care in our community by having other health professionals working alongside physicians and nurse practitioners in a primary care setting,” SOS Division said in a newsletter.

Osoyoos family physician says B.C. needs to train more doctors
Osoyoos family physician says B.C. needs to train more doctors