Peggy Aitken and Paul Lamoureux will be the new owners of Nelson’s popular walk-in clinic in the Chahko Mika Mall as of April 1.
The local couple say they don’t plan to make many changes, but do want to find two more physicians to solve a staffing shortage.
“We felt it’s something that needs to stay here and the main key is just getting doctors,” Aitken says.
Aitken has a background in promotions and business management and will act as clinic manager, while Lamoureux, a realtor, will look after marketing and recruitment.
Dr. John Dale, who presently owns the clinic with wife Diana Haschke is staying on as medical director.
Aitken says her husband and Dale have known each other for a long time, and were aware he was trying to sell the clinic.
She says they don’t plan to make many changes — other than to probably switch to electronic files.
“We’re going to stay with the formula they have now. It works well. The staff is great and patients who come in have very positive feedback.”
However, their key task is trying to hire a couple more doctors to supplement Dale and the two part-timers. The shortage previously threatened to close the clinic.
“We’re putting the word out to the community to help us recruit,” she says. “We’ve already had quite a good response.”
“[We’re asking] people who feel strongly about the clinic to get the word out. If they have friends or family who know a physician looking for the lifestyle here, let them know jobs are waiting for them.”
In the meantime, she is co-ordinating short-term fill-ins and says in the worst-case scenario, they may have to close again on Sundays, as was the case last year.
“We’re trying very hard not do that,” Aitken says.
She is also hopeful about making progress on the issue of recruiting foreign medical grads. Last year, Interior Health denied permission for one to practice at the clinic.
“That’s going to take some work, we know. We have some challenges ahead of us to do that, but we’re optimistic.”
Kootenay Lake Medical Clinic, established in 1998, is open seven days a week without appointment.