A new transfer collaboration agreement has been given the go-ahead by Sun Peaks Council to improve healthcare services in the community.
The new transfer agreement will see the transfer of operations of the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre to the non-profit Supporting Team Excellence with Patients Society (STEPS).
Mayor Al Raine having Sun Peaks added to the list of clinics operated by STEPS, is welcomed news.
“They are the biggest medical provider in the Kamloops area, so we should be involved with the Kamloops operation and be put under their control; we are very pleased about the move.”
In Kamloops, STEPS currently operates the Orchards Walk Medical Clinic, TruCare Health Centre, Health Clinic 645 Victoria Street, and the BeeWell Kamloops Medical Clinic.
Starting April 1, all patients of the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre will become patients of STEPS.
Raine says the move comes as it became increasingly difficult to enhance health care services at the municipally operated health centre, due to complex funding requirements and uncertain grant funding.
“Normally, municipalities aren’t involved in healthcare but we got involved because there were no services up here, and with the visiting public and with the local population growth, there was simply a need for a health centre here, and we just didn’t qualify for any of the programs.”
Another challenge they were running into, as Raine explains, was having enough doctors working up in Sun Peaks.
“I believe at least 1/3 of the patients in Sun Peaks are Kamloops residents, so in the longer term, some of those residents should be able to be served in Kamloops, then there will be more time for looking after patients in Sun Peaks.”
He explains that since STEPS receives provincial funding and will take charge of supporting operational requirements such as staff and supplies, it will help create relief on the healthcare system in his community.
“With the doctor pool that STEPS has, they have more flexibility should we be down a doctor (such as) finding a doctor that could come to Sun Peaks on an emergency basis.”
Sun Peaks Council also authorized its CAO to finalize and sign a lease agreement for the existing clinic space and waive base rental costs for two years to support the transition over to STEPS.
Administration received Council approval back in October to develop a tri-collaboration agreement between STEPS, Sun Peaks Health Association, and the Municipality to transfer operations in 2023.