Open letter to to Dr. Peggy Yakimov, senior medical director, Interior Health; Dr. A. Murray, chief of staff, Kootenay Lake Hospital; Michelle Mungal, Nelson-Creston MLA; Alex Atamanenko, Southern Interior MP; Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce; and John Dooley, Mayor of Nelson.
It was with great dismay that I recently learned that the Kootenay Lake Walk-In-Clinic may soon be forced to close its doors. Our family recently moved to this area from northwestern Alberta, where our experience with walk-in/urgent care facilities was abysmal. (as, we understand, it is in many other places in Canada). It was such a pleasant contrast when we first made use of the walk-in clinic in Nelson – very friendly receptionists, unrushed, caring and concerned medical staff, pleasant atmosphere. . . great location — even when “wait times” are involved, you are given a time estimate and you can go shopping without losing your place in the queue! Service extraordinaire!
I also know, from communicating with friends and neighbors, that there are many folks in the Kootenay area (from as far as Castlegar, Trail, Grand Forks, Creston, Riondel, Nakusp, etc.) who use and appreciate the clinic as well.
I am very aware, also being involved in health care, that there is a huge cost-saving to the health care budget with the use of a walk-in facility such as this. The same service at Kootenay Lake Hospital emergency would be considerably more costly. Every time a patient chooses to go to the walk-in clinic instead of the emergency department, there are enormous cost savings realized to the provincial health care budget.
The current clinic owners estimate that their service has resulted in a savings of $3.5 million to the province since they opened 14 years ago. That is HUGE. Not only is it likely that we’ll lose this wonderful facility, but in the process we will also be adding more cost to an already strained provincial budget.
We understand that Nelson may be about to lose this great facility, perhaps because of some “red tape” involving bureaucratic restrictions on the hiring of new medical personnel. I also understand that the current owners are willing to transfer the clinic, at cost, to any group of physicians who would be willing to take the initiative to keep our walk-in clinic open
In these times of economic stress and strained budgets, this is a service that we cannot afford to lose. You, as directors of these services and as political leaders, leaders of our community and media, must take a stand and exert your influence to help us keep our clinic open.
Louise M. Cheshire, D.C