By ROY WOOD
The old Sagebrush Lodge would be the best spot for a community health centre is Osoyoos, according to a feasibility study report to be presented to council Monday morning.
The 80-page report from the consulting firm Colliers International supports the development of a primary care walk-in clinic in the town to deal with “less urgent” and “non-urgent” medical cases. Such a facility would take some of the pressure off the emergency room at South Okanagan General Hospital (SOGH) in Oliver.
The report points out that much of the population in the South Okanagan “is an aging senior one,” which will place pressure on the regional health care system. “The system must respond with provision of local health care services in Osoyoos that reflect the aging population and address service demand pressures on surrounding communities.”
The report points out that the province is planning to create 10 new urgent primary care centres (UPCCs) in BC.
The consultants developed a model for UPCC for Osoyoos, which would provide:
•Timely access to primary care through a team-based approach;
•Reduced pressure on SOGH;
•Consistency with the needs and desires of the community for centralized primary-care services;
•Consistency with local doctors’ desire to work together with other disciplines to provide care and reduce costs; and
•Consistency with Interior Health’s desire to build inter-disciplinary teams including physicians, nurse practitioners, primary-care nurses and others.
The walk-in clinic envisioned in the report would:
•Operate seven days a week from morning into the early evening;
•Possibly include some diagnostic services, such as medical lab and x-rays; and
•Be staffed by doctors and nurse-practitioners on a rotating basis.
The consultants looked at several options on where and how to house such a clinic. They concluded that the most economical and practical option would be for Interior Health (IH) to partially demolish and upgrade the Sagebrush Lodge and then lease it to the town. The former seniors’ residence on 89th Street is being used by IH as office space. No medical care is available at the site.