Sidney clinic to take in 3,000 new patients in 2017

Peninsula Medical addressing the issue of the shortage of doctors on the Saanich Peninsula.

From left Andrew Kwasnica

From left Andrew Kwasnica

Peninsula Medical in Sidney is currently taking applications for 400 new patients on the Saanich Peninsula.

They expect to reach a total of 3,000 total patients this year.

Operated by the Saanich Peninsula Primary Health Care Society, Peninsula Medical opened in July of 2016, and has big plans for 2017 to address the shortage of doctors, an issue that exists across the province.

“There’s a huge need on the Peninsula,” said Andrea Lewis, a doctor at Peninsula Medical and the medical director of the Saanich Peninsula Primary Health Care Society.

They’ve done surveys and looked at how many people on the Peninsula don’t have a family physician, and the numbers show a large need.

From their latest numbers, 34 per cent of the individuals living on the Peninsula do not have a family physician.

Lewis said one of their mandates is meeting the needs of the people living on the Saanich Peninsula, which was a big impetus for creating the clinic. With it, they are trying to create something new that would allow those people to find a family physician.

From September to December, the clinic took in 1,200 patients and will be accepting 400 more in phases.

“It’s important to appreciate that the only reason we are able to take on new patients is because we’ve recruited new physicians to this community, to this clinic,” said Lewis.

Since their opening in 2016, they’ve recruited two new physicians, adding a third in November.

It may not sound that impressive, she said, but to have three new physicians starting in one clinic is a big accomplishment.

Dale Henley, co-chair of the Society, said there’s a reason for the ongoing doctor shortage.

“I think after so many discussions about this issue and reading so much about it, a lot of it’s generational,” he said, adding young physicians these days are driven by more by a work-life balance.

And as a Society, he said, they were trying to create something unique that would appeal to younger physicians, giving them that balance — or having a life outside of the practice, rather than working around the clock.

Lewis said as residents, they’re learning a different type of medicine than in the past, adding it’s more about sharing the responsibility. This, she said, is one of the cornerstones of the Society’s vision: creating a working model that allows individual physicians to benefit from their counterparts, from other healthcare providers in the clinic and to work together to create a home for patients.

They are currently processing the new intake of patients as they come in and had their soft opening last week.

“I think one of the important parts is what we’re doing here is very unique. We’re not just another walk-in clinic,” said Henley.

He said they’re trying to do something different and something that’s community oriented that hasn’t been tried a lot in B.C. or Canada.

“We’re trying to develop and grow and hopefully provide over the next two to three to four years even more clinics around the Peninsula,” he said.

“That would all encompass the patient home,” added Lewis. “So a patient who’s here, but they could go into the Saanichton clinic and they would see a physician there who has all of their medical records in front of them, because we would all be communicating.”

Application forms for new patient intake can be found on the clinic’s website at peninsulamed.ca, or by stopping by the clinic in person at 2A — 2379 Bevan Avenue.