Doctors Bayo Oyedeji and Oname Diakparomre begin their rounds at the Taylor Medical Clinic Sept. 5.
The doctors, new to the Peace Region, were introduced to residents Monday evening at an open house to learn details of a deal with the North Peace Primary Clinic to ensure continued operations at the district’s clinic for the next year.
“Our biggest thing now is to attach as many patients as we can to this clinic,” Mayor Rob Fraser said.
The doctors, based in Fort St. John, will work part-time in Taylor Monday through Thursdays, with schedules to be finalized. Dr. Abimbola Olajide, also introduced Monday, said the deal is part of his clinic’s plan to eventually settle a permanent doctor in Taylor and recruit another to Fort St. John.
Around 1,500 patients are needed to do just that, he said.
“We feel like we should be willing to take care of the health in Taylor rather than Taylor people looking for some form of care elsewhere,” Olajide said of the opportunity.
The clinic currently has six doctors on staff, with Oyedeji and Diakparomre the newest doctors welcomed into the fold after finishing their practice readiness assessments with the province.
Oyedeji arrived in Fort St. John a week and a half ago, following his wife and three kids who recently moved to Dawson Creek after an stint in Saskatchewan. They plan to move north soon, Oyedeji said.
“I was coming from Nigeria to visit on and off and eventually I came through the (program),” he said.
Diakparomre, also from Nigeria, started working in Fort St. John in March. She moved to Canada in 2013, brings with her a young daughter, and has already bought a house in town.
“It’s been a long journey since 2013. It’s been back and forth, back and forth, but I am here to stay for good," said Diakparomre, who will serve as the clinic’s medical director.
The North Peace Primary Care Clinic is the former “unattached patient” clinic established by Northern Heath in summer 2014 and is now privately operated.
It operates on a community based funding model, where doctors are paid to see a set number of patients instead of billing fees for service. The district will continue to pay for the clinic facilities, support staff, and operational needs of the clinic—around $17,000 a month, Fraser said.
“We’ll have to take this on and we’ll work with the doctors, and hopefully we’ll build their patient base here to the point that we’ll be able to turn it over and won’t have to pay that,” he said.
New Health Minister Adrian Dix has picked up news of the deal, Fraser noted.
“His staff has reached out to us, so hopefully we’ll get an opportunity to perhaps invite the minister up to view that clinic, and have a look at how small town, rural B.C. deals with their medical problems,” Fraser said.
Vancouver-based Livecare ended its telemedicine operations in Taylor in March, a few short years after helping to reopen the clinic during a doctor shortage in 2014. Livecare said the money-losing clinic would remain unprofitable unless the province or Northern Health changed to the way telemedicine services are funded.
Livecare’s patient records are being transferred to the North Peace clinic as part of the deal.
Olajide said talks are ongoing with Dr. Pam Kryskow, who had been providing services through Livecare, to continue some service in the community, such as pain therapy.
As the clinic’s lead, Olajide said he’s looking to recruit family and community-minded doctors who, like him, prefer the appeal of small town living over big city life.
“We’re going to employ people who have families, who are able to settle down in the community because then it becomes a little more difficult to leave,” he said.