After-hours health care clinics come to Qualicum Beach

Local family physicians trying a pilot project in August and will assess later whether to continue the clinics

Family physicians are creating after-hours walk-in clinics in Qualicum Beach in a pilot project for August they say will complement, not compete with, the operations of the Oceanside Health Centre.

The doctors say they are responding to survey results gathered in the spring and will determine whether the clinics continue past August after studying the data gathered during this pilot project.

“The community wanted some after-hours, walk-in access,” said Elliot Freedman, a consultant working with the Oceanside Division of Family Practice.

“We think there’s a demand for it and we think it will be full-up.”

The clinics will be open Mondays (excluding the holiday Aug. 4) from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Qualicum Medical Centre on Fern Road; Tuesdays from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the same location; Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Beach Medical on Beach Road; Thursdays from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Primrose Medical Clinic on Second Avenue; and Fridays from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. back at Beach Medical.

The physicians estimate they will be able to see 8-15 patients — tourists and residents alike — each day. Doctors say incidental, pressing — but non-life-threatening — medical issues may be brought to the after-hours clinics. These include things like earaches, fevers, removal of foreign bodies, heat stroke, hives and rashes, insect bites, lacerations, nausea, skin infection, sore throat, sprains and wound care.

What can’t be treated at the clinics include life-threatening or urgent medical conditions that should be treated and assessed at a hospital’s emergency department like suspected strokes or heart attacks, major trauma or injury, maternity issues, head injury with loss of consciousness, poisoning or overdose.

The pilot program is part of a province-wide initiative sponsored by the government of B.C. and the doctors of B.C. called A GP for Me (see for more information). Freedman said that initiative covers more than the need to help people get a family doctor.

Some of the determining factors for these clinics continuing past August include the number of people who use the service and their origins (August was chosen because it is a month where the region gets a lot of tourist traffic) and how the physicians are able to cope, both with the workload and their ability to cover the overhead of the operations. He said the doctors are following this formula path for the clinics: plan-do-study-act, with the operation now in the ‘do’ stage.

“They are working a full day before (the clinics open),” said Freedman, who also said it was only Qualicum Beach-based physicians who offered to be part of the pilot project.

“We would like to continue it and expand it in small steps, and that could mean Parksville,” he said.

Before the $17 million Oceanside Health Centre and its Urgent Care Centre opened last year, a busy after-hours, walk-in clinic operated in downtown Parksville. It closed when the OHC opened and Freedman said their survey results showed people were confused and unhappy about what the Urgent Care Centre provided and how it operated.

“There was a lot of frustration about wait times, both at the doctors’ offices and the OHC Urgent Care Centre,” he said. “We thought maybe we could leverage the critical mass of the division (to help the situation).”

He said the doctors are following this formula path for the clinics: plan-do-study-act, with the operation now in the ‘do’ stage. He also admitted some might see the Urgent Care Centre and the clinics overlapping, but he insisted the planning was done with OHC officials involved.

“This is all very much collaborative,” he said. “In health improvement, small steps are best.”

Just Posted

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

Most Read