The Port McNeill hospital. (North Island Gazette file photo)

The Port McNeill hospital. (North Island Gazette file photo)

Island Health issues statement on the future of health care in Port McNeill

‘It is critical to create a welcoming, supportive environment where physicians want to relocate to’

Island Health and its partners have taken another key step towards sustaining primary care in Port McNeill by establishing a health authority owned and operated clinic.

The Mount Waddington Regional Hospital District (MWRHD) has purchased the building and land at 2161 McNeill Road and it will be used as the permanent location of Island Health’s primary care clinic.

“Access to primary care services plays a critical role in the overall health and well being of communities,” said Andrew Hory, MWRHD Board Chair. “We are proud to support Island Health as they work towards their vision of a health authority owned and operated primary care clinic for Port McNeill and region.”

“It will take a full community effort to create a sustainable long-term primary care model in Port McNeill and this is a perfect example of partners working together to achieve that goal,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “We are thankful to the MWRHD and look forward to serving the primary care needs of those in the region.”

Island Health will now begin upgrades to the building to create an optimal patient and provider experience.

“This government has shown time and time again it’s committed to ensuring people have access to the health care they need, when they need it,” said North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. “This is an exciting step and I’m pleased to see Island Health’s vision for primary care in Port McNeill continue to progress.”

Island Health will work closely with local Indigenous communities to create a culturally safe clinic environment and give the clinic a name that is reflective of the history of the region.

“The Kwakwaka’wakw people have been the stewards of this land since time immemorial,” said Marie Hunt, Kwakiutl Band Council Health Director. “We look forward to working with Island Health towards our shared goal of creating a space that provides culturally safe care that is inclusive of our traditions and practices.”

While upgrades are completed at the permanent clinic location, Island Health will operate within both the McNeill Rd. location and its temporary clinic at 1584 Broughton Blvd. Island Health plans to move all operations to the McNeill Rd. location by the end of August. To book an appointment, please call 1-866-956-2007.

Island Health is working closely with Dr. Prean Armogam, the physician who was working out of the privately owned and operated clinic located at 2161 McNeill Road.

Dr. Armogam has indicated to Island Health that he will continue his outreach work to the communities of Woss, Rivers Inlet, Zeballos, and Sointula, as well as continue to support the Port McNeill Hospital and community. This is a significant clinical workload and we are thankful for Dr. Armogam’s ongoing support and dedication to these communities.

During this transition, Island Health is providing Dr. Armogam with clinic space and administrative office support at Woss, Sointula and Port McNeill to help support his private practice. He will continue to have space in the health authority owned and operated clinics to conduct his practice as permanent clinicians are recruited to the community.

Recruitment of additional permanent physicians to live and work in Port McNeill is ongoing and Island Health is pleased to share that the new clinic model is leading to significant interest from physicians in B.C. and across Canada. We hope to have news to share in the near future.

“It is critical to create a welcoming, supportive environment where physicians want to relocate to,” said Gaby Wickstrom, Mayor of Port McNeill. “The Town of Port McNeill fully supports Island Health, and we are excited to see a new vision for primary care emerging.”

If you have questions about accessing primary care in Port McNeill, please call 1-866-956-2007 or email info@viha.ca.


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