While Taylor's council didn’t have the chance to meet provincial health minister Adrian Dix face-to-face at last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference, it's not giving up on keeping its medical clinic open.
Mayor Rob Fraser said their concerns, though, were clearly conveyed to ministry officials in a meeting that did take place during the convention.
“We told them we’re frustrated and disappointed at the closing of our clinic,” he explained, after the current provider, the North Peace Primary Care Clinic, said it wouldn’t be renewing its contract Oct. 1.
“We told staff that Taylor was ahead of the curve with the provision of health care. We provided, probably, one of the first clinics free of charge for doctors. Doctors coming out of UBC are now saying that’s what they’re interested in, a model we’ve had in place for 13 years.”
Fraser also brought up the lack of support, he feels, the district has seen from the area’s health authority in the same conversation.
“Northern Health has brought one doctor through our community since 2009 to look at the clinic. Taylor was also among the first in the province to bring in tele-medicine or tele-health in around 2012 and never got a bit of support from Northern Health.”
Fraser added the district was ahead of the curve in tele-health, something he said is being used consistently now around the province by Northern Health and the Ministry of Health.
“We instituted the community payment model that doctors were using by opening up our clinic to a new clinic of doctors who wanted to use that service model. It now appears that the Ministry of Health, I believe it is, has put so much paperwork on doctors for that model of payment that the clinic decided they were going back to a fee-for-service.”
Fraser said the next step, and on the advice of health ministry staff, will be to pen a letter directly to the minister on potential options.
“We are looking at a nurse practitioner to see if that model could work in our clinic.”
Fraser believes it’s one that might work well in a lot of other northern communities too, not just Taylor.
The latest figures from the province list 426 nurse practitioners in British Columbia.