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Kootenay Boundary’s last walk-in clinic will close in August

Ancron Medical Centre says workload has become unsustainable
The Ancron walk-in clinic will close in August. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson’s last remaining walk-in clinic is closing as of Aug. 25.

The Ancron Medical Centre announced Friday it was ending the clinic service, which was the last remaining in the Kootenay Boundary health region.

“The workload has become unsustainable for our family physicians to continue to provide episodic care or unattached patients,” the centre said in a statement, “in addition providing care to our own many family practice patients, along with doing hospital admissions, obstetrics, intrapartum care, care for unattached patients admitted to the hospital and participating in the work of community health care committees.”

The announcement added Ancron sympathizes with the distress of “unattached patients” (people without a family doctor) and expresses appreciation for the staff who “manage the heavy workload” at emergency wards in the Kootenay Boundary area.

The manager of the clinic declined to comment further when contacted by the Nelson Star.

Ancron was the only option for walk ins for Nelson after the Kootenay Lake Medical Clinic ended its walk-in service in March.

A spokesperson for Interior Health stated in an email that the Ancron walk-in clinic is not an Interior Health clinic, but that IH is “working with the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice (KBDFP) to actively recruit family doctors to the Kootenay Boundary.”

Paul Edney, communications lead for the KBDFP, told the Nelson Star the organization has been planning what it refers to as a “regional episodic care clinic” to open by the end of 2024 in a regional location or locations as yet undecided.

The service would be a clinic for people with no family doctor “with urgent or semi-urgent health care needs.”

Edney said the clinic would have a mixture of virtual and in-person appointments and be staffed by a full-time nurse practitioner, with many family doctors contributing by taking on a small number of appointments, both virtually and in-person.

“By distributing the additional workload across multiple doctors in the region, the impact on each individual doctor’s schedule will remain minimal,” he said.

The KBDFP is a not-for-profit co-operative led by family physicians in the region whose goal is to support clinics and medical practitioners in providing care.

In February the online medical platform Medimap reported that B.C. had the longest wait times at walk-in clinics in the country with an average wait time of 93 minutes, or 25 minutes longer than the national average.

The IH email stated that Nelson-area residents needing immediate medical attention should visit the emergency ward at Kootenay Lake Hospital. The email also stated that B.C. residents can get prescriptions from their pharmacists for contraceptives and medications to treat 21 minor ailments.

People can also call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to speak with a health service navigator, access health services and connect with an 8-1-1 nurse, dietitian, exercise professional, pharmacist or, if applicable, a physician.


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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