A virtual health care clinic opened two years ago to serve Cariboo Chilcotin residents without a doctor will be closing effective Dec. 5, 2022.
Bridge Care Virtual Clinic has confirmed it will no longer offer doctor and nurse practitioner appointments.
“The Central Interior Rural Division (CIRD) of Family Practice made the tough decision to stop offering primary care services during a health care provider shortage that is affecting municipalities from across Canada, because we are unable to provide the necessary ongoing medical direction for continuation of the clinic,” noted Hannah Diether, virtual care coordination lead, in a letter sent to people who had been using the clinic.
She also noted the clinic was never meant to be a permanent solution but a way to offer interim service during the pandemic for people without a family doctor.
“This is due to the widespread crisis we are experiencing in primary care throughout the region, and country,” she noted.
Residents using the clinic have been sent letters about the closure and instructions on how to retrieve medical records from the clinic.
CIRD has also provided a list of virtual health services for patients needing primary care which was shared with the Tribune.
Residents who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, should add themselves to the wait list for one by calling HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 or visiting: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry/central-interior-rural and they will be notified by an attachment coordinator when a provider becomes available.
There are also virtual services available through other avenues.
– TELUS Health MyCare at https://www.telus.com/en/personal-health/my-care
– Tia Health at https://tiahealth.com/
– Walk-In Virtual Clinics at http://www.walkinvirtualclinic.com/
– CloudMD at www.cloudmd.ca or through the Save-onFoods app.
– Virtual Clinics+ at www.virtualclinics.ca
– Viva Care – www.vivacare.ca
– Maple Virtual Care at www.getmaple.ca using the Maple.app or talking to a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist about the Maple Virtual Care options available in-store
In case of emergencies or urgent after hours care, patients can go to the emergency department at Cariboo Memorial Hospital or 100 Mile District General Hospital.
There are more services available for patients who identify as First Nations.
– Esk’etemc Health Services at 250-44-5611 or www.esketemec.ca/health/
– Tsq’éscen: White Feather Centre 250-397-2717 or www.canimlakeband.com/programs/health-wellness/white-feather-center/
– Xatsull Health Station at 250-989-2355 or www.xatsull.com/departments/health/
– T’éxel’c: Sugar Cane Health Station at 250-996-3507 or www.wlfn.ca/departments/health-station/
– Three Corners Health Services Society (TCHSS), 250-398-9814 or www.threecornershealth.org
-Stswecem’c/Xget’tem TCHSS: Xgat’tem Health, 250-440-5822 or www.threecornershealth.org
– Stswecem’c Health, 250-459-7749 or www.threecornershealth.org
– First Nations Wellness Centre, opened on Oct. 11, 2022, is located at 281 First Ave. North Williams Lake. It does not have a website but will have a Facebook page in the near future. The phone number is 778-417-0405, email email@example.com.
The centre provides culturally safe and trauma-informed primary health care for First Nations and Indigenous people and their families.
Mental health and substance use services are also available through 310-MHSU for referrals or immediate assistance there are 24/7 crisis lines such as Interior Crisis Line Network at 1-888-353-2273, KUU-US (Indigenous) Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 and Métis Crisis Line at 1-833-638-4722.