An expanded medical clinic offering a wide range of services, including walkin, officially opened last Friday in Ladner.
Located on Ladner Trunk Road next to the abc Restaurant, Ladner Centre Medical will be a welcome addition for many residents that don't have a family doctor or can't get in to see their regular physician.
Most of the doctors at the clinic were originally together in an office across the street at Trenant Park Square until a couple of years ago when their lease situation forced them to move to different offices.
Some of the doctors stayed together at smaller facility on Harvest Drive for a while, but now everyone as been reunited in the much bigger offices that can provide even more.
In addition to a walk-in clinic, the medical centre also offers such services as massage therapy and kinesiology.
Dr. Maha Balakumar, a general family doctor at the clinic, told the Optimist it will be a great addition for the Ladner community to have so many services available under one roof.
"It's like a family reunion for us. We all work very well together and we're all happy to be together for this community. I'm sure we're looking for new doctors too," he said.
Balakumar, who also works as a hospitalist at Delta Hospital, said the provincial government has been making strides to increase the number of physicians, including general family doctors, that can either work on their own or within medical clinics.
"The government has introduced some new incentives for new family practice doctors and that is, in my view, helping to a certain extent. All these incentives towards family practice is also changing the way doctors are practicing too now," he said.
Last fall, an Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of the B.C. Medical Association found that 60 per cent of British Columbians polled said they disapprove of the job the provincial government is doing managing the health care system. Among the top concerns was that everyone should have a family doctor.
The survey found that roughly one in 10 British Columbians say they do not have a regular family doctor, but are looking for one. Younger residents are most likely to be looking for a doctor.
Six in 10 British Columbians say they want a doctor as their first point of contact with the health care system.
The previous year, Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon announced the province would spend $137 million over two years to overhaul the primary health care system. The amount included funding previously announced by the government, but Falcon went further by promising a family doctor for every British Columbian by 2015.
Up to 200,000 British Columbians don't have regular access to a family doctor, according to the B.C. Medical Association.
Last summer, the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons released its 2010 Annual
Report, which concluded "significant progress" was made toward addressing the physician shortage across the province and ensuring more patients have access to care.
The report noted the government has committed to increasing the capacity to train physicians, including expansion of the undergraduate and postgraduate MD program at UBC, as well as the addition of more postgraduate residency positions for international medical graduates.