The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

The Port McNeill Medical Clinic has announced it will be closing its services due to a lack of support from Island Health. (Port McNeill Medical Clinic Facebook photo)

UPDATE: Port McNeill medical clinic closes then reopens as talks with Island Health reach a breaking point

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy”

On Tuesday morning, the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC) announced it was closing until further notice.

By the end of the day, it was open again.

After originally announcing the closure on the Port McNeill Medical Collaborative Facebook page due to “lack of support” from Island Health, and encouraging people to “direct all questions and requests to Island Health and your elected local officials,” the clinic then posted around 6:30 p.m. that “after discussion with various stakeholders and agencies, we are able to continue with services.”

A clinic spokesperson said the reversal was mainly due to pressure from the residents of the community; nothing has really changed as clinic operators are still struggling.

“(We want to) turn the business side over to Island Health so we can just be doctors. We want to follow the Port Hardy model, that way we can at least get people to work here and stay. The standard for health care in our region should all be the same.

“It’s been five years now and there’s still no commitment from Island Health.”

RELATED: Port McNeill Hospital was scheduled to divert patients to Port Hardy hospital Halloween weekend

RELATED: Local mom delivers North Island’s first home birth in 30 years

The main reason behind the closure is due to the clinic feeling like it had been left with minimal options.

“We are wanting regional equality with Port Hardy,” the spokesperson said, noting it’s never been about financial compensation or funding for equipment. “It’s about changing the model [of health care].”

According to the spokesperson, this is the only medical clinic north of Campbell Riverrun by independent and private physicians, which is causing them to spend too much of their time running a business and not enough time as doctors.

“Port Hardy was in the same situation as us around 10 years ago, but Island Health changed the model which enabled them to get staff and doctors,” the spokesperson said, adding that Port Hardy’s medical clinic is in fact owned and operated by Island Health, which is ultimately what’s creating the lack of health care equality between the neighbouring towns.

Port Hardy’s population was listed in the 2016 census as 4,132. Port McNeill’s was 2,064.

When asked if Island Health has provided the clinic with any financial support over the years, the spokesperson said Island Health had promised to help them, but hasn’t committed to what was promised.

Island Health responding to a Black Press Media request for an interview with this statement:

“We recognize that with the recent departure of two physicians from the Port McNeill Medical Clinic (PMMC), this has been a challenging situation for the remaining physicians. However, family physicians are private, independent business people who choose where they want to locate their medical practice.

“While Island Health is not responsible for recruiting family physicians into private practice, for the last several months, Island Health has been working collaboratively with the doctors of B.C. and the PMMC to identify and explore options to create a sustainable model for the clinic and its physicians.”

Port McNeill Mayor Gaby Wickstrom said the situation is “concerning for us, especially as we are starting to hear of COVID in our region. So many surrounding communities rely on the availability of a clinic in Port McNeill. It’s been stressful for people needing to access care.”

Wickstrom added in a social media post that residents need to speak up and write letters to Island Health to help put pressure on all parties to find a solution.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ClinicsHospitalsIsland Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor, of the Curve Lake First Nation, marks Red Dress Day with healing walk, songs

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Victoria police is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this suspect after they allegedly robbed a Douglas Street bank on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek identity of suspect who alllegedly robbed Victoria bank

Officers were called to a bank in the 1000-block of Douglas Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday

This sign, visible from Highway 17 and suggesting dissatisfaction with the public health measures responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, disappeared from this location after having stood on a private North Saanich property for several days. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sign in North Saanich warning of police state gone

The sign stood for several days on a private property and was visible from Highway 17

Victoria police said Wednesday that they continue to look for Belinda Ann Cameron, who was last seen on May 5, 2005. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police still looking for Belinda Cameron who was last seen 16 years ago

Cameron was reported missing on June 4, 2005, and her case is deemed suspicious

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read