Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville losing its only family physician

While nurse practitioners will continue to serve clients, hundreds of people are now without a family doctor

(This story has been updated)

One of the people who will lose their doctor this summer says the health authority is to blame for the departure of the Oceanside Health Centre’s only family physician.

Island Health (formerly the Vancouver Island Health Authority, or VIHA) confirmed this week that Dr. Marlene van der Weyde has decided to retire from general practice. Her last day will be July 31.

“The fault lies with VIHA,” said the patient, who asked not to be named. “Dr. van der Weyde made a valiant attempt to make the position work but VIHA red tape, technical issues, work overload, etc. made it impossible. The fact that she has chosen to leave raises serious questions about the program being run at Oceanside.”

Island Health was asked Thursday to comment on the accusations from this patient but did not respond by Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Many of the 1,700 people who are clients at the Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) primary care department may have never seen Van der Weyde, instead having their needs attended to by a nurse practitioner or other people who are part of the primary care team. It’s unclear how many of the 1,700 clients claim Van der Weyde as their doctor.

Island Health also said there will be a physician available at the OHC if required.

“Until a new physician is in place, patient care for Dr. van der Weyde’s patients will be transferred to a nurse practitioner,” Island Health’s Valerie Wilson explained. “There are three nurse practitioners at the Oceanside Health Centre. Nurse practitioners are advanced-practice nurses with masters degrees and can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications and order most diagnostic tests. Should a patient need to be seen by a physician, the patient will be seen by the doctor of the day – local physicians participate in a rotation to provide care to patients who do not have a family physician.”

That set-up might not sit well with some of Van der Weyde’s patients.

“Very distressed to hear of Dr. van der Weyde’s decision to leave the Oceanside team,” said the same patient quoted above. “She has truly been a Godsend for our care for a number of years and has helped us through some grave medical issues. I understand that a nurse practitioner can assume some of the responsibilities of a doctor, but what they cannot do leaves a gaping hole. People’s lives are at stake. This situation must raise serious alarms at VIHA.”

Van der Weyede won’t be disappearing from the local health scene.

“We are of course very happy that she will be remaining in the Oceanside community where she will be providing physician care to home-bound frail and elderly people and as well as end-of-life physician services to individuals in the Oceanside area,” said Island Health’s Wilson. “We would like to thank Dr. van der Weyde for the tremendous contribution she has made to the OHC and to the Oceanside community and we wish her the very best in the future. She will  . . . continue to provide consultation services to the OHC on a regular basis until a new primary care physician is in place. We also look forward to continuing our collaboration with Dr. Van der Weyde in her work as an Oceanside-based End of Life physician.”

Island Health says it is working to fill this vacancy as soon as possible.

“We know that recruiting physicians can be challenging, given the current national physician shortage,” said Wilson.

Premier Christy Clark, in Parksville this week for caucus meetings, said finding physicians “is a problem all over the world.” She also said “I think we will be successful in finding a replacement. Island Health in going to work hard to find a replacement. Frankly, I don’t think it’s going to be as hard here as in other communities to find a replacement. It’s not like living in Parksville is like hardship pay, right? I mean people really love to be here and it’s a rewarding practice to have, so I’m hopeful Island Health will be able to find a replacement.”

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is one of the organizations approved for a grant-in-aid by the Town of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Town of Qualicum Beach awards $80K in relief funds to community groups

Pandemic has put a financial strain on many organizations

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read