Public concern regarding the status of telephone issues and the fact that residents are being told that the doctors are not taking new patients, prompted a call from the Spotlight to the Interior Health Authority. (IHA)
IHA Community Medical Director, Dr. Curtis Bell was helpful in providing information on these issues.
“The clinic is working close to capacity by trying to address the needs of the community,” said Dr. Bell. Time consuming activities such as the transfer of paper records from retired doctors into the electronic system is a recent extra task. Doctors seeing new patients also takes more time to manage a case appropriately, because they are getting to know their patients.
Dr. Bell said that IHA is working on outfitting the clinic with a full component of staff and that they try to make sure that locum coverage is available when a doctor is off, “but that is not always possible,” he said.
There are limits to booking options; the doctors are covering clinic hours, residential care, hospital care and emergency room hours. When a doctor is off for any reason, the others step in to provide coverage—room for another doctor at Cascade has been discussed.
Dr. Bell offers the following suggestions for residents; “when calling the clinic, let staff know exactly what you need—be specific.”
Residents can use the nurse helpline – 811 – free of charge for health information or advice.
“The ER is an option,” said Dr. Bell, however it should be used in an emergency only.”
In the case of an actual emergency, do visit the ER or call 911.