Williams Lake city council meets Tuesday, April 4. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake city council meets Tuesday, April 4. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

City council requests a short-term urgent primary care centre for Williams Lake

Council directed staff to ask Interior Health to set one up immediately

City council is requesting Interior Health immediately set up an urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) in Williams Lake.

Coun. Scott Nelson made a motion at the city council meeting Tuesday, April 4 asking staff to make the request as a way to assist in the short-term for what he said is an “estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people” that do not have doctors” in the catchment of the Cariboo Chilcotin.

The motion passed unanimously.

Council also directed staff to get letters of support from the Cariboo Regional District, surrounding 15 First Nations communities, the Tsilhqot’in National Government, the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and the Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association.

A UPCC provides same-day care to patients who do not require emergency level of services.

There is one in Ashcroft and the Interior Health website notes depending on the nature of injury and illness, patients may be seen by a physician, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, or another allied health professional.

Earlier this week, members of council and staff met with representatives from Interior Health to discuss the doctor shortage in Williams Lake.

He said his mom who is 82 moved to Williams Lake and does not have a doctor.

Nelson said when he asked how many people are without a doctor in the Cariboo Chilcotin region, the answer was between 40 and 45 per cent.

“Stop the dancing around,” Nelson said. “If you can put one in Ashcroft for a population of 8,000 and it has been open for a number of months you can put one in Williams Lake.”

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor ssaid the meeting with IH involved a healthy discussion and the representatives from IH were given sevearl items to follow up on.

Items council asked about include the question of a walk-in clinic for Williams Lake, a better communication strategy, why locums are getting paid more and why local doctors cannot be paid as much, why lab results have to be sent away and why doctors are getting paid more in Quesnel?

“They heard our concerns loud and clear,” Rathor said.

Attending the council meeting by Zoom, Coun. Angie Delainey said she can see the fatigue on the face of her doctor when she sees him and can see it on all the medical staff around town.

“I am happy with this motion and I want to say kudos to our staff and Coun. Nelson for being aggressive.”

READ MORE: Inpatient situation will stay same over this weekend at Cariboo Memorial Hospital

READ MORE: Cariboo Memorial Hospital head doc says all parties working to find ER staffing solution


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