Peachland’s council unanimously passed a motion to help keep the district’s only medical clinic in operation.
During the Jan. 8 regular council meeting, council directed staff to present an information report about the closure of other small clinics in B.C. after Beach Avenue Medical Clinic announced the retirement of its current medical director.
Dr. John Brinkerhoff is set to retire at the end of March. The business is unable to operate without a medical director and none of the current doctors in the clinic have expressed interest in taking the position, said clinic manager Lisa Guderyan, in a previous interview with Capital News.
The clinic is currently searching for a replacement, and according to the clinic’s website, all four doctors will be moving out of Peachland. Dr. Jeff Hoekstra will move his practice to Summerland, Dr. Alanna Leverrier and Dr. Chantal Fourie are moving to Towne Centre Medical Clinic in West Kelowna and Dr. Brian Mackay has yet to announce his moving date or location.
According to a report which was presented at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting, the district has been consulting with municipalities across B.C. that are experiencing similar circumstances, as well as offering its support to the medical clinic.
“It’s a huge loss to the community and a lot of people are concerned and upset,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin. “All is not finalized yet, the district is working as closely as we can with the clinic operator and the (Central Okanagan Divisions of Family Practice) and we’re trying to find out if we can recruit someone to come to Peachland.”
Council decided to pass a resolution referring the issue to the Peachland Economic Development Committee in order to prepare a doctor recruitment package and to work to provide initiatives and incentives to attract doctors to Peachland.
Council also asked the PEDC to liaise with the BC Rural Health Network to promote changes in the provincial legislation regarding responsibilities of medical directors.
“We need to have that service here for the residents. I know it’s a private business but healthcare is hugely important, with all the Baby Boomers aging and going into their senior years… it’s really important to have more doctors, especially with people that don’t drive,” she said.