District of Taylor still working hard on a plan to keep medical clinic open

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TAYLOR, B.C. – Mayor of the District of Taylor, Rob Fraser, updated the situation with the medical clinic during the opening of the Community Services Hub on Wednesday evening.

Fraser says they have met with Northern Health, doctors and spoken with Ministry of Health representatives from the B.C. government.

“We are working with all of them to see if there is an opportunity or put some sort of arrangement together to make sure that clinic is on.”

Livecare had notified the District that they would cease their operations in the Clinic as of March 30. That now leaves the District with just under a month to find a solution. At a previous Council meeting, they approved the District paying for the doctor to still visit Taylor for the month of March for the usual one week she is at the clinic. Fraser says these types of situations take time to work out a solution but that Council is doing the best they can.

“These sorts of things don’t happen that quickly so obviously, we have until the end of the month to come up with something and Council will have to decide that if one of the clinics does come forward and there is an opportunity to work with one of the clinics in Fort St. John, sooner rather than later, but even that would take transition time.”

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He says Council will talk about what the budget will look like and how much they are willing to spend on temporary measures until a permanent solution is figured out.

“Our Council wants to ensure that the clinic stays open.”

Council has not been given a chance to meet with Health Minister Terry Lake as of yet but says they have spoken with members of his team about what can be done.

“We have a teleconference with his staff and Minister Barnett was there. They are all supportive of us getting something going down there at the clinic. They think that the next step for us is to work with the doctors in Fort St. John which would ultimately be the best because then our clinic is fitting into the whole ‘local scene’ when it comes to practicing in the area.”

The Ministry of Health has taken the ideas Council gave to them and are going over what options could be presented to the District. Fraser says the Fort St. John solution could be beneficial.

“The Fort St. John solution is the most practical solution. Whether or not we are successful, there are capacity issues with the clinics in town and obviously doctors are at a premium all over the province so they might even want to help us but they might not be able to. I think that is what doctors, different clinics are looking at, do they have the ability? Do they have the capacity to work with us in a satellite clinic sort of model?”

Fraser says that it is always hard to recruit doctors here. The option of keeping the current doctor in Taylor is a tough option to see happening because she does currently practice all over B.C.

“We are always trying to work with the doctors to locate here and live in the community. Her practice is, she practices all over the province with this model so we are just one of the communities that she visits and to come here full time would mean that she wouldn’t be able to practice someplace else.

The residents of Taylor and the region will suffer if there is no clinic here and Council feels strongly that we will do whatever we can to keep the clinic open.”

District staff are currently working through the process of applying for MSP numbers so they can bill MSP for visits in the month of March and beyond if it is necessary.

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