Roughly 3,000 patients at View Royal clinic suddenly find themselves without a family doctor


Eagle Creek Medical Clinic in View Royal announced Saturday that two of their family physicians are leaving the practice.

The departure will leave approximately 3,000 patients without a family doctor.

“This is pretty devastating news,” said Dr. Matthew Ward, medical director of the Eagle Creek Medical Clinic. “Doctors just are not coming here. They just can’t afford with the current fee-for-service model we have to practice longitudinal family medicine.”

Dr. George Zabakolas and Dr. Chelsie Velikovsky told CHEK News on Monday that they are leaving family medicine in Victoria to explore other options.

“The system is very, very difficult and very draining on us and it comes down to lots of different things but ultimately we have to do what is best for us and our family,” said Velikovsky alongside her husband Zabakolas via Zoom. “We should be able to make a decent living without having to fly through patients all day long and exhaust ourselves in order to make ends meet.”

“Frankly, it’s about the cost,” said Ward, when asked why Victoria has a shortage of family doctors. “It’s about how expensive it is to live and work in Victoria. It’s about the overhead which is very, very costly to run a clinic.”

Elham Moldovanos is one of the nearly 3,000 Eagle Creek medical clinic patients now looking for a new family doctor.

“I was emotional and I’m shaking right now,” said Moldovanos, whose family of five all see Dr. Zabakolas. “I feel being betrayed about the system (sic).”

The issue is not new. Back in 2019, nearly a quarter of people in greater Victoria didn’t have a family doctor.

“Unfortunately, this is not new to Victoria,” said Ward. “There are 100,000 plus individuals who don’t have a family doctor right now and unfortunately this adds to the list.”

In addition to the loss of two family doctors, Eagle Creek Medical Clinic will also be closing its walk-in clinic. A quick search today on showed Victoria as having the majority of its walk-in clinics either closed or at full capacity. The shortest wait for an appointment was five hours.

“Primary care is in a crisis right now in Greater Victoria,” said Ward. “It’s unacceptable to me that there’re 100,000 people without a family doctor. Everyone deserves to have a family doctor.”

Ward says negotiations recently started between the provincial government and Doctors of BC to address a variety of issues including the family doctor shortage impacting many cities around the province.

CHEK News reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment on how the provincial government could help retain or recruit more family physicians to the greater Victoria rea.

“The Eagle Creek Medical Clinic is a privately run clinic and decisions about operations are made by the clinic’s management team,” the statement reads. “In 2018/19, the Ministry of Health launched a transformational team-based primary care strategy intended to fundamentally change the way primary care is delivered.”

Although the Ministry of Health did not directly refer to the doctor shortage, the statement continues: “We are making progress – despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 – in realizing the potential of a team-based model that provides comprehensive care for people and a better workplace for family physicians and health care workers.”

Eagle Creek Medical Clinic’s walk-in clinic, along with the practices of Dr. Zabakolas and Dr. Velikovsky, will officially be shut down April 15, 2022.

The other family doctors at this clinic, as well as the multidisciplinary primary care team is unaffected by these departures and will continue their operations as usual.

Dr. George Zabakolas and Dr. Chelsie Velikovsky of Eagle Creek Medical Clinic in View Royal told CHEK News on Monday that they are leaving family medicine in Victoria to explore other options, saying the current system in B.C. has been draining on them. (CHEK News)

[email protected]


Kevin CharachKevin Charach

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!