Better access to team-based primary care will now be available for residents of Sooke as the expansion of the West Coast Family Medical Clinic officially opened on Friday.
“People need reliable access to health care close to home,” said Premier John Horgan. “This new clinic will deliver primary health care for people in the fast-growing community of Sooke and the surrounding area. It is part of our government’s focus on helping people with the things that matter most.”
The Province of BC said that they will be providing the clinic with $1 million annually to support the new team-based care that is part of the expansion. In addition, Island Health invested approximately $600,000 in capital funding as they oversaw the renovation.
As for staffing the expansion, five new health-care professionals will join the team over the course of the next year, with plans for most of the primary care resources to be brought on board by August 2020.
“We are planning on adding two nurses, a nurse practitioner and hopefully at least two more family practitioners. We hope to attract many more patients from the community,” said Dr. Robin Saunders, a West Coast Family Medical Clinic doctor.
“Sooke is a small community with a very big heart. We look after one another.”
Once staffing is finalized, the West Coast Family Medical Clinic anticipates being able to connect approximately 4,250 currently unattached patients to their primary care team and accommodate about 300 patient visits each day.
“Families in Sooke share government’s vision that better health is achievable through better access to primary health-care services,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The West Coast Family Medical Clinic expansion will have significant and lasting benefits for the individuals in Sooke who are unattached to consistent primary care.”
The addition of team-based care increases the clinic’s capacity to offer primary care, newborn and post-partum care, non-emergency urgent care, palliative care and medical services for the Elders’ Wellness Clinic at the T’Souke Nation and long-term care in the community, according to a BC Government press release.
“The opening of this new clinic today will bring meaningful change for the residents of Sooke, who will now have a medical team here and medical service they need so close to home,” said Mayor Maja Tait during a press conference on Friday.
Health professionals, Mayor Tait and Premier Horgan all echoed the same sentiments during the grand opening of the expansion, emphasizing this is something that Sooke has been working to get done for years as living in a small community on the west of the island presents healthcare challenges.
“The long-standing partnerships between the Sooke community, its dedicated physician group and Island Health have yielded a wonderful outcome for the residents of Sooke. This latest Sooke clinic expansion is yet another step forward in providing top quality, comprehensive primary care to the local population. The South Island Division of Family practice offers congratulations to all involved,” said Dr. Vanessa Young, board chair with the South Island Division of Family Practice.
Although the clinic is normally open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the COVID-19 pandemic has led the clinic to close at 4:30 p.m. each day at the moment. Any patrons looking to use the clinic’s services are being asked to call or book online for a virtual assessment first.
The plans for the expansion were unveiled last April.