Premier John Horgan with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Mayor Maja Tait and CEO of the Vancouver Island Health Authority announce the planned expansion to health care services in Sooke in 2019. The expansion of the clinic is now complete, Horgan announced Friday, June 12. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sooke expanded health care facility officially complete

Expansion of clinic, additional staff, to provide ability to care for thousands more patients

  • Jun. 12, 2020 1:30 p.m.

Renovations on the expanded health care clinic in Sooke are officially complete.

Premiere John Horgan expressed a great deal of excitement towards the completion of the project during the Friday morning announcement.

“Come Monday there will be an official opening of the West Coast Family Medical Clinic, providing primary health care to the greatest community that I have the pleasure to represent,” said Horgan. “I am busting my buttons a little bit because of the pride I have.”

The announcement included the recruitment of two registered nurses, a nurse practitioner, two physicians, and three medical office assistants. Recruitment is underway, and newly hired staff will gradually join the clinic.

The clinic is envisioned to include a total of 10 family physicians, three registered nurses, one nurse practitioner, a social worker, a registered dietitian and 11 medical office assistants. A full staff roster is expected by January 2021, with most of the hires expected by August. Horgan added that the new model will allow the ability for “thousands more patient visits.”

“When fully staffed, the West Coast Family Medical Clinic anticipates having the capacity to connect approximately 4,250 currently unattached patients to their primary care team and accommodate about 300 patient visits a day,” the province stated in a press release.

ALSO READ: Health-care expansion in Sooke on track—sort of

The province will fund $1 million and Island Health also contributed approximately $600,000 towards clinic’s renovations. The clinic is part of the primary health care strategy first announced by Horgan in 2018, which stressed the need for a team-based approach that allowed for a better way of working for doctors and other health care professionals.

“The whole team here have really worked tirelessly, and with a level of dedication that I have not seen in any corner of my time here as premiere. I am proud of the people here, and of the services that are going to be provided to the people of Sooke,” said Horgan.

Dr. Robin Saunders, a physician at the clinic who has been practicing in Sooke for 29 years, said the expansion will help serve the diverse population by using a multidisciplinary approach.

“Completion of the medical clinic expansion is an amazing first step, the fact that it was built during a COVID-19 pandemic, is not only a testament to the work ethic of the planners and the builders, but also the professionalism of everyone who’s continued to provide services under extremely difficult circumstances,” said Saunders.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said the clinic will bring meaningful change to the lives of residents, by giving them “better access to team-based care,” and allowing more people to stay close to home.

“I am so very proud of how far we have come,” said Tait. “However, our work on this issue is not complete. Now we have another 10 years to look forward to, to ensure we build the capacity to meet our future growing, emerging health needs.”

Tait looks forward to continuing the relationships with those who have committed to making the improvements happen.

“The clinic expansion and transition to a new service delivery model is the culmination of many years of work and commitment by numerous stakeholders. I am very proud to have been a part of this effort as the chairperson of the Sooke Region Primary Health Care Services Working Group since 2014 and would like to thank our members and partners, as well as residents who attended public engagement events,” said Tait.

“We are grateful to the province for its response to our advocacy efforts and for investing in the health and well-being of our community. We look forward to continuing our work together.”

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