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New Okanagan Indian Band primary care clinic gives access to doctors on reserve

Click to play video 'Okanagan Indian Band opens new primary care clinic' Okanagan Indian Band opens new primary care clinic
Okanagan Indian Band opens new primary care clinic – Nov 26, 2020

A new primary care clinic at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Health Centre is giving band members access to physicians on reserve.

While the health centre was previously staffed by a variety of health professionals, Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) Chief Byron Louis said the new clinic adds doctors to the staff for the first time.

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Louis said the change will help elders who had difficultly getting to medical services in Vernon and generally make it more convenient for members to access health care.

The OKIB chief says it was important to provide this expanded access to health services for his membership, as, he says, the community is growing and it’s getting increasingly difficult for people to find a family physician.

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In a bulletin announcing the clinic’s opening to band members, the clinic says it is using “a team-based care approach” where a group of health care professionals “work together with you to meet your health needs.”

The clinic goes on to say that it hopes to be able to provide patients with the majority of their health care services.

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Right now the primary care clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays to serve band members regardless of where they live.

However, Louis expects demand will soon exceed what those limited hours are able to provide.

He is hoping to eventually expand the clinic schedule so it is open five or six days a week.

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He would also like to eventually see the capacity of the clinic expanded so it can provide health care services to the thousands of non-band members living in the area as well.

The clinic is located at the OKIB Health Centre on Head of the Lake Road.