Editorial: Mobile clinic has to help health crunch

Editorial: Mobile clinic has to help health crunch

We need to make the phrase ‘I don’t have a family doctor’ irrelevant

“I don’t have a family doctor,” is an all too familiar phrase for many residents and families that live around Greater Victoria, and, indeed throughout Vancouver Island.

Earlier this year, the City of Colwood was attempting to bring more family physicians to the western communities through a controversial proposal to replace the Colwood park and ride with a new health and wellness centre. But that plan has since been put on hold.

Last month, Premier John Horgan launched the government’s new primary health care plan. The plan included the initiative to set up 10 new urgent primary care centres in Burnaby, Comox Valley, Prince George, Richmond and the South Okanagan-Similkameen region, will be established over the next year to help take the pressure off hospital emergency rooms, as well as operate on the weekend and hours outside of clinics.

More primary care centres are expected in another 15 communities within the next year. Which is great news for Comox. But what about the rest of the Island?

This summer, the Mobile Clinic, stemming from an organization called Doctors of the World, will be hitting the road to deliver health care services in a rather innovative way.

The mobile clinic is a van full of medical supplies that will set up once a week in Victoria, Langford and Sooke, and with it will come a registered nurse and a volunteer physician.

It is intended to service those living in rough or rural conditions, but everyone is welcome to access it.

The clinic offers things like sexually transmitted infection screenings, medical consultations and treatment for both physical and mental health, wound care, harm reduction supplies and more.

Previously, the program was in Montreal, but is expanding to the West Coast – particularly Greater Victoria – beginning July 28.

While it may only be a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem, it’s refreshing to see organizations identifying a problem and stepping up to the plate to come up with a solution. Who knows, maybe this will be the first of many mobile clinics on wheels.