The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

UPDATE: Port McNeill medical clinic closes then reopens as talks with Island Health reach a breaking point

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy”

On Tuesday morning, the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC) announced it was closing until further notice.

By the end of the day, it was open again.

After originally announcing the closure on the Port McNeill Medical Collaborative Facebook page due to “lack of support” from Island Health, and encouraging people to “direct all questions and requests to Island Health and your elected local officials,” the clinic then posted around 6:30 p.m. that “after discussion with various stakeholders and agencies, we are able to continue with services.”

A clinic spokesperson said the reversal was mainly due to pressure from the residents of the community; nothing has really changed as clinic operators are still struggling.

“(We want to) turn the business side over to Island Health so we can just be doctors. We want to follow the Port Hardy model, that way we can at least get people to work here and stay. The standard for health care in our region should all be the same.

“It’s been five years now and there’s still no commitment from Island Health.”

RELATED: Port McNeill Hospital was scheduled to divert patients to Port Hardy hospital Halloween weekend

RELATED: Local mom delivers North Island’s first home birth in 30 years

The main reason behind the closure is due to the clinic feeling like it had been left with minimal options.

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy,” the spokesperson said, noting it’s never been about financial compensation or funding for equipment. “It’s about changing the model [of health care].”

According to the spokesperson, this is the only medical clinic north of Campbell Riverrun by independent and private physicians, which is causing them to spend too much of their time running a business and not enough time as doctors.

“Port Hardy was in the same situation as us around 10 years ago, but Island Health changed the model which enabled them to get staff and doctors,” the spokesperson said, adding that Port Hardy’s medical clinic is in fact owned and operated by Island Health, which is ultimately what’s creating the lack of health care equality between the neighbouring towns.

Port Hardy’s population was listed in the 2016 census as 4,132. Port McNeill’s was 2,064.

When asked if Island Health has provided the clinic with any financial support over the years, the spokesperson said Island Health had promised to help them, but hasn’t committed to what was promised.

Island Health responding to a Black Press Media request for an interview with this statement:

“We recognize that with the recent departure of two physicians from the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC), this has been a challenging situation for the remaining physicians. However, family physicians are private, independent business people who choose where they want to locate their medical practice.

“While Island Health is not responsible for recruiting family physicians into private practice, for the last several months, Island Health has been working collaboratively with the doctors of B.C. and the PMMC to identify and explore options to create a sustainable model for the clinic and its physicians.”

Port McNeill Mayor Gaby Wickstrom said the situation is “concerning for us, especially as we are starting to hear of COVID in our region. So many surrounding communities rely on the availability of a clinic in Port McNeill. It’s been stressful for people needing to access care.”

Wickstrom added in a social media post that residents need to speak up and write letters to Island Health to help put pressure on all parties to find a solution.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ClinicsHospitalsIsland Health

Just Posted

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Letters to the Editor.
Snipes prank not worth celebrating

Is another form of bullying deserving of a bronze statue?

Letters to the editor.
Money the B.C. government’s priority over health

Case numbers of COVID-19 don’t seem to back up opening the economy

Police have been kept busy dealing with a crime spree throughout the pandemic in North Cowichan/Duncan and elsewhere. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Worrisome time amid a pandemic

Huge drain on finances, rising criminal activity among the concerns

A young woman is believed to have died in a fire on the Malahat Nation reserve early Thursday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
UPDATE: Woman dies in fire on Malahat Nation reserve Thursday morning

18-year-old victim alerted others to the fire, police say

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read