Staff at Central City Medical Clinic work in their personal protective equipment. (Photo submitted)

Thank you frontline workers

SALUTE: In Surrey, White Rock and Delta, the doctors are in

Staff at clinics say they’re worried people aren’t getting care due to fear or misconceptions

The Surrey Now-Leader published a special tribute to frontline workers in its Thursday, April 30th edition. This story focuses on health care clinics. Click here to see the whole section.

– – –

Health care workers say there is growing concern at a group of medical clinics in Surrey that fear of COVID-19 – or the misconception that clinics have closed because of it – is keeping people from seeing a doctor.

“It is clear that many people think that the clinics are closed,” said Tom Yearwood, founder and CEO of Denning Health Group, which manages five medical centres in Surrey and two in Abbotsford. “We are very concerned that people are going without needed care.”

In fact, Yearwood says, three of the five clinics his company manages in Surrey are seeing patients, and all of them are doing telephone and/or virtual care.

Dr. Leonid Vinnitsky works at Central City Medical Clinic in Surrey. He says he wants to let residents know that patients who need to see a doctor still have that option.

“It’s important that everyone in the community knows that we are open and we can see people face to face,” he said, adding that many people are genuinely surprised when they are call in and find out they can see a doctor. “We are trying to provide this message to the community – we are open.”

Dr. Leonid Vinnitsky works at Central City Medical Clinic in Surrey. (Photo submitted)

Dr. Vinnitsky said that message is especially important in a time when Surrey Memorial Hospital’s emergency needs to be freed up as much as possible.

And for patients who don’t necessarily need to physically see a doctor, virtual care has become common across the province since COVID-19 broke out. The increased use of virtual care allows patients to receive medical care from their own doctor while practicing physical distancing or self-isolation.

Earlier this month, TELUS announced that it is enabling 26,000 of its physician customers to conduct secure virtual visits directly through their electronic medical records (EMRs) platforms. The new feature allows physicians to book appointments and conduct video consultations with their patients within the same platform they are already using to manage their patient records.

TELUS said the virtual care feature is being offered to physicians free of charge for the first four months to help support their efforts in managing patient care during the pandemic.

Dr. Vinnitsky said about one-third, if not more, of treatments done at his clinic are done using telephone or video.

“We can do a lot things over the phone,” said Dr. Vinnitsky. “But unfortunately, certain things cannot be done, like injections or vaccinations.”

For those patients who have to come in, fear of COVID-19 may cause them hesitation.

While the clinic has seen several patients with suspected symptoms, Trish Dafoe, Central City Medical Clinic manager, said every precaution is being taken to keep staff and patients safe.

She said all staff are equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment and the clinics also have a screening process in place to reduce the risk.

“We’re washing down doorknobs, we’re washing down beds and giving deep cleans to all our rooms. We’re constantly cleaning and we all have our PPE’s,” Dafoe said.

The Surrey-North Delta and the White Rock South Surrey Divisions of Family Practice are also reporting that many of its family doctors say a record low number of patients are making appointments, likely because people are unaware that family physicians are providing care.

Tomas Reyes is executive director of the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice, which is made up of more than 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 medical office assistants. He said a common goal is to ensure that primary care remains accessible to all patients, including those without a family doctor.

“Both divisions in White Rock-South Surrey and Surrey-North Delta have been working hard in collaboration with Fraser Health and other partners, on strategies to support and enable our physician members to respond to the COVID-19 emergency effectively and to continue providing health care services to the residents in our communities under these challenging circumstances,” said Reyes.

Nancy Mathias is executive director of the White Rock-South Surrey Division of Family Practice.

“We want the people of Surrey, South Surrey, North Delta and White Rock to know that if they need non-emergency medical care, their family physician is still the best person to contact, and for residents with no family doctor, we have options to support them as well.”



beau.simpson@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police asking for help to find 11-year-old last seen in Surrey

Shauntae Joseph has been reported missing two other times since October 2019

Surrey addictions officials say pandemic funding is wreaking havoc on those in recovery

Governments’ kindness taking its toll, recovery operators say

Influx of cross-border visitors to Peace Arch Park sparks concern COVID-19 could spike

Police, parks officials say patrols, education and signage have all been increased

Barn catches fire in Surrey

Fire department says ‘pressurized containers’ inside the structure

What June 1 will look like at Surrey schools

High school students following a ‘tutorial model’ where they sign up through a set schedule of times

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Langley Lodge ordered to swab all residents staff, new cases discovered

Four new cases – two residents and two staff – have been confirmed at the long-term care home

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Most Read