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Province, Island Health not answering questions about staffing levels at new Victoria UPCC


On Wednesday morning, Courtney Standing was attempting to see a doctor at the Westshore Urgent and Primary Care Clinic (UPCC) in Langford, B.C.

Standing has been living in constant pain for almost a year.

“It’s not OK to have to live in chronic pain,” she said, through tears. “I feel like the system has just failed me.”

Like 100,000 others on southern Vancouver Island, Standing does not have a family doctor.

Wednesday morning, she and many others were turned away from the Westshore UPCC. She was told to try a different clinic or to go to an emergency room, which she has done in the past.

“(I've had) to go to emergency five times in the last year and then just to be told like, 'Sorry, you can’t see a specialist,’” said Standing.

On Monday morning, the province quietly opened the new UPCC at Gorge Road Hospital in Victoria.

Justin Henry was one of the first patients to use the facility.

“I can tell you it’s brand new and there’s nobody else in there but me,” Henry said Tuesday.

Henry, who also doesn't have a family doctor, heard about the Gorge Road UPCC from his daughter. There, he finally got to see a doctor after many futile attempts at other clinics.

He expects he got into the clinic on Tuesday so easily because nobody knew the clinic even existed.

By Wednesday, the word was out and at 11 a.m., the Gorge Road clinic was also turning people away because it was at capacity.

“We may well have another example of how the government is opening an urgent and primary care centre and it does not have the staffing that it needs to serve the people in that area,” said Liberal MLA Shirley Bond, opposition critic for health, long-term care and seniors.

Bond says she thinks that’s why the province never mentioned the clinic was being built or that it opened this week.

Tuesday, Island Health confirmed to CTV News that the new clinic is not fully staffed.

On Wednesday, CTV News asked Island Health how many doctors are actually working in the clinic and at other UPCCs in the region. Island Health did not respond to the questions.

Asked those same questions, the Ministry of Health also did not respond.

“It’s not a surprise to me that you can’t get information about what’s happening at that UPCC, because we had to work relentlessly to actually get information about the model,” said Bond. “It took an estimates process and literally hours of questions to finally get some details.”

Bond says those findings showed UPCC’s are rarely fully staffed and, in fact, some of them have no physicians working in them at all.

With other UPCC’s at capacity in the capital on Wednesday, including the new Gorge clinic, Standing returned to the Westshore Urgent Care Clinic later in the day. She was turned away again.

“That experience I just had was enough to make me want to leave this province,” she said. Top Stories

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