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New ideas for rural health care at Port McNeill collaborative clinic

Residents of Port McNeill have improved access to integrated health services thanks to a new collaborative approach taken by health care providers in the region.

The medical clinic in Port McNeill has added “collaborative” to its name to reflect its inclusive approach to health care. Local physicians who own the Port McNeill clinic recently renovated the facility and increased the number of exam rooms from nine to eleven.

Through a leasing arrangement with Island Health, community-based Mental Health and Substance Use and social work clinicians who work from a number of different sites in the community are rotating through the clinic, integrating with the clinic’s physicians and staff.

The facility, now known as the Port McNeill Collaborative Clinic, provides clients with improved access to health care and an expanded, broader range of services in one location. Island Health clinicians are able to make themselves available to clients after they have been seen by a physician, nurse or nurse practitioner.

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“Thanks to the clinic’s new collaborative focus, Port McNeill and area residents will have access to a wide variety ofhealth care services all in one convenient location,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The clinic’s team-based approach to care is a perfect example of work that is ongoing across the province to improve service delivery to benefit both patients and health care providers.”

This collaboration also reduces the need for separate appointments. For example, the social worker or Mental Healthand Substance Use staff could refer a client directly to a member of the primary health care team when appropriate.Physicians will also book patients in to see the social worker for specific consultation around adult guardianship, advanced directives, navigating the health system, access to funding and other issues.

“The future of health care, especially rural health, is collaboration. Here at the Port McNeill Collaborative Clinic we are looking at ways of doing this effectively,” said Dr. Dave Whittaker, clinic physician and board member for the NorthIsland Chapter of the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice. “We know that it is more than just working in the same building but we are hoping that over time our patients will start seeing the benefits.”

Just as before, residents can call the clinic at 250-956-3377 to make medical appointments. Island Health clinicians will continue to support clients with appointments that are booked through community programs and by clinic staff. Additional Island Health services are expected to be relocated to the Port McNeill Medical Collaborative in the coming months.

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“This collaboration aligns with Island Health’s move to community-focused health and care”, said Alison Mitchell, IslandHealth Senior Manager of Health Services in Mount Waddington. “Island Health is proud to collaborate with the Port McNeill physicians and staff to offer this client-centered approach and achieve more seamless, integrated care.”

Island Health social worker Kirsten Kucy experienced the benefits of being based at the Port McNeill Medical Collaborative as soon as she relocated to the facility at 2161 McNeill Road. “I was able to work with Dr. Dave Whittaker and Nurse Peta Kelly, and the whole team was better able to support our clients in getting the care they need,” Kucy said.

– Contributed by Island Health

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