Vernon, B.C., residents no longer have access to a local walk-in clinic, after the city’s last remaining facility has been forced to shut down, and residents who are without a family doctor are citing concerns.
“We’re going to have to go elsewhere, out of town, emergency is going to be backed up — I don’t know what else to say but here we are,” said Vernon resident Amanda Leibel.
“We’re not caring about people, just letting them fend for themselves with health care — it’s sad.”
The Sterling Centre Walk-in Clinic, located at 3210 25 Avenue in Vernon, will be closing for good as of 7 p.m. on Nov. 15. According to Interior Health and the operators of the clinic, the closure is not due to a lack of physicians, but rather a need for more support staff.
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The closure forces those who need to see a physician to go to Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s ER department, the Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre or to travel out of town — not an ideal situation for seniors.
“What are the seniors going to do, go to Armstrong, to Kelowna?” questioned Vernon resident Lorenzo Scaglione.
“That’s not right, so I’ll be doing a lot more visits to the hospital.”
B.C. United Party Leader Kevin Falcon visited Vernon on Tuesday to discuss social issues impacting the community. On Wednesday, he told Global News that the closure of the clinic summarizes the current state of health care in the province.
“Residents of this province, one in five of us don’t have access to a family physician, and when you close a walk-in clinic like that that serves so many people that have no access to a physician, that is a real blow,” said Falcon.
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