UPDATE: A previous version of this story ran without comment from the North Peace Primary Care Clinic.
TAYLOR, B.C.– The Taylor Medical Clinic may be shutting its doors soon.
The clinic is run by the District of Taylor itself and was, up until recently, staffed with physicians from the NPPCC
The NPPCC informed the District that it would not be renewing this agreement. The services will end on October 1st.
The district’s last effort to keep the clinic open is looking at whether a nurse practitioner—which is a nurse with specialized training that resembles that of a family physician—could take over the clinic.
District staff intend to reach out to a nurse practitioner in the area in the coming days.
“There really are no other doctors,” Taylor mayor Rob Fraser said. “We’ve tried every method that we possibly can. We’ve been through two groups of doctors… and the telehealth model.”
The clinic used a telehealth model in 2014, several years before it became a common tool in medicine with the advent of the pandemic.
While residents of Taylor with family doctors through the clinic will not lose their doctors entirely, they will lose access to them within their community. Visits to Fort St. John’s NPPCC are still possible but can be challenging for some patients.
“It becomes more difficult for seniors who have mobility problems or families who only have one vehicle,” Fraser said in a council meeting on Tuesday evening.
“So it becomes harder to arrange opportunities to go and sit with their doctor.”
While this causes strain for members of the small community, the councillors recognized that the clinic’s impending closure is part of larger problems within the healthcare system.
“There are five doctor’s names on this letter…that are not on the original agreement from five years ago,” Fraser noted about the formal letter informing the district that NPPCC would not renew its agreement.
“That tells me that we’ve had a turnover of doctors at this clinic.”
The retention issue signalled by the turnover witnessed is not news to residents of Taylor, nor to residents of the Peace region as a whole.
“There’s a deeper problem here,” Fraser said, “and I think it lands squarely in the lap of Northern Health.”
The NPPCC calls the change a result of shifting its funding model.
“Our clinic would be shifting to a different funding model from the aforementioned date and with this change, it would no longer be practical for us to continue to provide services at the Taylor Medical Clinic,” it said in a letter to the district.
“It was a hard decision because we enjoyed working with the Taylor clinic and the district of Taylor,” the NPPCC said. “But it’s just become a bit difficult for us at this time. And hopefully we can revisit it one day, but for now we’re unable to continue.”
The clinic also confirmed that patient care would remain the same and patients would be able to see their doctors at the clinic in Fort St. John.
While council agreed to express its disappointment in healthcare services and the closure of the clinic to the minister of health at the Union of BC Municipalities conference this fall, hopes are not high for the future of the clinic.
“This is very disappointing,” Councillor Betty Ponto said. “I know residents are very disappointed and concerned about their ability to be able to go to Fort St. John to see a doctor.”
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