Health care concerns require answers

The SPCS is very concerned with the recent information that Selkirk Family Medicine Clinic in Trail is closing its doors

The Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors is very concerned with the recent information that Selkirk Family Medicine Clinic in Trail is closing its doors effective December 11, 2015. It is our understanding that up to 1,000 patients will be affected by the loss of access to a family physician. We have had numerous calls from very distressed citizens from within Greater Trail as they were completely unaware that this was in the works.

In the letter that was sent to  affected patients last week, Wednesday, September 9th., it was made quite clear that of the three remaining physicians at Selkirk Family Medicine, only Dr. M. Smith will be relocating to Rossland and who will ‘initially restrict his practice to those (patients) previously registered to him’.

Neither of the other two physicians will be providing ongoing medical care to their existing patients.

In conversation with Debra Reid, the Project Manager for ‘A GP for Me’ hotline, it has been determined that there are no general practitioners within our area (from Rossland to Salmo) who would take on new patients at this time. In the letter it did state that any patients with a Salmo address or Beaver Valley address may possibly be accommodated. It is also our understanding that there has been an awareness of this clinic closure for some period of time and, as advocates for quality health care in our community, we are disturbed that this information was not made available sooner. There was also no opportunity provided for public discussion and consultation to assist in mitigating the impact this loss of service will have on our community.

The question being repeatedly asked is, “What do we do now?” It is unrealistic to expect frail seniors to go to the walk-in clinics in Nelson as was suggested, so along with many other affected patients, there will be a very large additional burden placed on emergency room services. Once again, we appear to be in a reactive situation, recognizing that a viable solution will take time, creative problem-solving and additional resources.

We must not forget that the loss of this valued medical clinic will have a significant cost to the general health and well being of all affected patients. What alternative solutions can Interior Health offer that will meet the health care needs after December 11th. and mitigate the over-all impact that is already presenting as patients worry about what they will do, not only now, but after December 11th.

Additionally, there will be a cost to patients to get their medical records from Docudavit Solutions —-approximately $80.00 per person plus taxes and shipping. If a patient is able to secure a new physician prior to December 11th., then the cost of transferring medical records is approximately $35.00 as it will be done directly by the clinic.

We would hope that even after the fact, there may still be an opportunity for input from the public, the municipality and the region.

We would like to be kept informed of any developments regarding the concerns raised above.

Candace Parrilla and Margaret Crawford

Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors