A week has passed since the Peninsula News Review reported on a walk-in clinic in Brentwood Bay actively recruiting more patients. To date, the story posted to the PNR Facebook page has been shared 250 times, providing insight into the need for more doctors on the Peninsula and the benefits of walk-in clinics.
Katie Thompson, manager of the Bayside Medical Centre family practice and walk-in clinic, said more than half the patients that have come to the walk-in clinic this past week are new. The clinic is able to track this through a computerized system.
“It’s a direct result of the story you guys did,” Thompson told the PNR. “Right after the online article was published we had a huge surge of phone calls.”
The clinic was also inundated with phone calls from people asking if the family practice is accepting new patients.
People on the Peninsula are desperate for doctors, but a walk-in clinic is different than a family medicine practice. While the Bayside Medical Centre in Brentwood Bay is actively seeking more walk ins, the two physicians of the family practice side – Sienna Bourdon and Mark Sherman – have full family practices and are not currently accepting new patients. Both Bourdon and Sherman work shifts in the Centre’s walk-in clinic.
People are encouraged to use the walk in as their medical home – one, consistent facility patients can visit that tracks their medical history and provides the same level of care a family practice would – until more physicians are recruited.
But before physicians can be recruited, the walk-in clinic needs to be sustainable.
“Some people don’t want to jump aboard a ship that’s not sailing well,” said Thompson.
Simply put, busy walk-in clinics attract physicians.
The original story generated several online comments from people questioning the need for a walk in.
Walk-in clinics serve people with a variety of different medical backgrounds.
The PNR also spoke with Dr. Andre Du Toit, who’s been practicing at the only other walk in in Central Saanich for nearly 20 years – the Central Saanich Medical Clinic. Du Toit said he suspects around one third of his walk-in patients already have a general practitioner (GP), but are visiting the walk in because they can’t book an immediate appointment with their GP due to busy schedules or holiday. He said another third are his own patients, while the final third are people without a doctor.
Thompson said she wants to thank the community, who she said has since banded together to support the clinic at 7226 West Saanich Rd., Brentwood Bay.
“Everyone wants this situation – of not having a family doctor – to be more bearable,” Thompson said.
The Bayside Medical Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Both Bourdon and Sherman said clinic hours would expand once an added demand is established.
The print version of the original story was published in the June 9 edition.