December 10, 2023

The first half of 2023 has been busy for doctors and staff at the District of Sicamous Community Health Centre.

At the June 28 Committee of the Whole meeting, health centre manager Karen Eastland shared the facility’s quarterly update.

She informed council all doctors at the centre, Dr. Vicki Edmondson, Dr. Saad Alam and nurse practitioner Jennifer Post-Balfour are accepting new patients, if the patient doesn’t already have a family doctor. Walk-in appointments are also available to non-patients.

Patients may contact the Health Centre at 250-836-2817 to book appointments and check walk-in availability.

Eastland said there had been 476 walk-ins and a patient panel numbering 2,631. The doctors also completed 2,937 telehealth appointments, which make up close to 43 per cent of the clinic’s total visits.

“Telehealth has made a big difference for convenience,” said Eastland.

A partnership with Eagle River Secondary has Post-Balfour visit the school every second Wednesday to discuss teen health, including mental and sexual health options. While the uptake was slow for May and June, said Eastland, there was enough interest to keep the program. Teens can drop in anonymously.

The recent Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCBC) conference, attended by Coun. Pam Beech, Eagle Valley Community Support Society executive director Janet McLean Senft and Eastland, was helpful and informative, the attendees said. Sicamous was given a Rural BC Community Award for dedication to community healthcare.

The district centre was denied its application for this year’s Quality Team Coaching Rural BC program, but Eastland said that was sort of a positive thing, as she can now solidify the centre’s operational plan and refine it before a team comes in to help with coaching staff.

The centre was approved for $16,891.45 in funding for rural health education from RCCBC, and Eastland said she is still deciding how to best to use the money.

Eastland said she and the district are still in talks with Interior Health about offering services in the Shuswap Healing Centre. An expression of interest for lab services, a pharmacy, social and community services and Indigenous programs is in development.

A new Splatsin health director has been appointed and Eastland said she has also reached out to the band about a continuing partnership.

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