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

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

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Items collected from last year’s Ocean Park Food Drive. (Contributed file photo)
Ocean Park Food Drive expands, open to residents south of 32 Avenue

Homeowners south of 32 Avenue and west of 160 Street encouraged to put donations on doorstep

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Missing man found safe, Surrey RCMP said

Riley Arnold- Higgenbottom was last seen at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 28 in the 18900-block of 69 A Avenue

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Most Read