A third walk-in clinic in Greater Victoria announces it’s closing its doors

A third walk-in clinic in Greater Victoria announces it's closing its doors

The James Bay Medical Treatment Clinic is the third walk-in clinic in three weeks to announce it’s closing its doors in Greater Victoria.

The clinic announced it will be closing on Feb. 28, which will leave hundreds of patients without a doctor.

When Eagle Creek Medical Clinic earlier this month announced it would also be closing the walk-in clinic, it provided an estimate that there are over 100,000 people in the CRD without a family doctor.

For many of those patients, telehealth and virtual doctors appointments may be the future of family medicine.

Apps such as the Telus Health MyCare set up an appointment with a physician for a number of different conditions and is paid for through the Medical Services Plan.

WATCH: West Shore clinic the latest victim of Island’s doctor shortage

According to the Ministry of Health, postgraduate medical education in BC has increased from 134 (2003) to 362 entry-level positions projected for 2022.

By over tripling its family medicine intake from 54 in 2003 to 174 by 2022, UBC now has the single largest family medicine training program in Canada.

Increasingly, they’re choosing to practice online medicine, according to Dr. Damien Contandriopoulos, professor and acting director of the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria.

“They work the hours they want, wherever they want, never have complex issues to deal with,” Contandriopoulos said. “As soon as it’s complex, they just suggest to the patient, well good luck to you. See a doctor. ”

There are just two Telus Health MyCare clinics in B.C.; one in Vancouver and another in downtown Victoria.

They do see patients in-person, but only a small number, and that’s a problem, according to Contandriopoulos

“The more Telus hires physicians from brick and mortar clinics off the video calls, the less physicians you have in your community,” Contandriopoulos said. “And the more physicians virtually online, the more they will send patients to brick and mortar clinics.”

Interim Liberal leader Shirley Bond says the problem is a lack of a long-term strategy from the provincial government.

“I think what we are seeing not only on Vancouver Island, but across the province, but a system under pressure,” Bond said. “And I think that it is one of the things causing increased anxiety for families as they try to sort out how they are going to receive medical care today, and into the future.”

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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