The clinic manager of Peachland’s only medical clinic fears for some of its patients if a new owner can’t be found soon.
Beach Avenue Medical Clinic is scheduled to close on March 31 unless it finds someone to replace outgoing owner and medical director Dr. John Brinkerhoff, who is retiring.
“The rules in B.C. are that a physician in good standing with the college must be the medical director,” clinic manager Lisa Guderyan said Tuesday. “It can’t be an international doctor, and it has a bunch of other stipulations. Unfortunately, none of our other doctors that are working the clinic are in a place to take on that role.
“So we are looking for a replacement medical director and working with the Divisions of Family Practice for the Central Okanagan, hoping that they would be able to support us in that search. And they have been.
“Most doctors go into medicine to be doctors, not to be business people.”
There are four other doctors at Beach Avenue, and three of them have already committed to working at other clinics after March 31. The good news for most of Beach Avenue’s patients is two of those doctors are moving to clinics in West Kelowna and the other is off to Summerland. Therefore, most patients will be able to keep their doctor.
The patients who are less mobile are the ones about whom Guderyan is worried.
“The people we’re really broken for are those frail people,” she said. “It’s hard for them to get out of the house, get alone get out of the house and to a whole different town.”
Beach Avenue also serves as Peachland’s walk-in clinic between 3 and 5 p.m., so that is another service that will disappear if a new medical director is not found.
“It is definitely a disruption to the community,” Guderyan said, “and of course we’re all very upset about the situation.”
If a new medical director is found, the clinic will have to also find new doctors since three of its current physicians are committed to working elsewhere after March 31. There are five other permanent employees and several casual workers at the clinic who would be out of jobs if a new boss can’t be located.
“We’re hoping it will be a seamless transition and there won’t be any loss of care in Peachland,” Guderyan said. “We’re working on it, the Divisions of Family Practice is working on it, and all the locals that are concerned about it are asking whoever they know.
“We’re all just hoping that we can find someone who would like to work and take over the clinic here in Peachland.”
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