Google Maps photo                                Island Health will hear public input on a Dec. 13 meeting open to the public at Port Alice’s community centre.

Google Maps photo Island Health will hear public input on a Dec. 13 meeting open to the public at Port Alice’s community centre.

Island Health to leave Port Alice doctor position vacant, nurse to leave

Island Health will not fill another doctor position or an after-hours nurse.

Port Alice will be seeing some changes to its health services shortly.

At a council meeting last November, Alison Mitchell and Dermot Kelly from Island Health met with Port Alice’s mayor and council to discuss changes in the village’s health clinic.

One .6 FTE doctor (Full-Time Equivalent allows part-time workers’ working hours to be standardised against those working full-time) has already resigned from the position, while another FTE nurse is looking to retire sometime this year.

The Nov. 28 council agenda stated that “these events led Island Health to review the services offered at the Health Clinic in Port Alice.”

“Island Health has concluded that the current population of Port Alice does not support having 1.4 FTE Doctors and the after-hours emergency service is underutilized,” Chief Administrative Officer Bonnie Danyk’s report to mayor and council continued.

Port Alice has a population of 664 residents according to the 2016 census.

Island Health decided to leave that position vacant following a review.

“This means that Port Alice will have a doctor four days a week at eight hours per day or five days a week at six hours per day and the after-hours emergency nurse will no longer be available. Island Health proposes to use the funding instead to hire a social worker/councillor and more home care workers as per a needs assessment conducted for Port Alice,” the report stated. “Island Health will also be funding a one day a week adult day program and installing an accessible bathtub for community use.”

Danyk also noted that “Island Health would like to meet with council in December to discuss the implementation of these changes. They will also be having a public meeting to answer … residents’ questions and concerns.”

The public meeting is set to happen Dec. 13 at 4:00 p.m. at Port Alice’s community centre.

According to Island Health’s website, Port Alice Health Centre currently offers a number of services, which include urgent care, primary health care services, home care nursing, ambulatory outpatient services, laboratory, medical imaging, palliative care, visiting specialists, and mental health and substance use.