Replacement doctor found

The patients of a retiring Okanagan Falls doctor can breathe easy, as a replacement has been found to take over his practice.

Dr. Jamie Robertson is retiring from the Okanagan Falls Medical Clinic after four decades of practicing medicine in the community.

He and his son Andrew have been the only family doctors in OK Falls since 2010, so news of his planned retirement in March had his patients worried.

But Robertson tells Castanet he’s secured a replacement for his practice — a family doctor originally from the North Okanagan and current resident at Penticton Regional Hospital will join the office in July.

“Lucky me. It’s so difficult to get a doctor to come and take over your practice in the Valley,” he said. “I felt guilty that I was retiring, because I didn’t want to have patients left without a family doctor.”

He said all his patients will be able to continue visiting the office in what he anticipates will be a “seamless transition.”

“No one is falling through the cracks, no one is getting abandoned. It’s a nice feeling.”

Robertson settled in Okanagan Falls in 1978, attracted by the small town lifestyle after several locums in rural settings.

“We just fell in love with the area and thought it would be the perfect place to bring up kids,” he said. “We had a baby that had just been born and we loaded up all our worldly possessions in a Volkswagen van and high-tailed it to the Okanagan.”

In his first year in OK Falls, Robertson says he was on-call at the Penticton hospital for more than 400 days straight. He now shares those duties with his son, alternating on-call every two weeks.

He says he will deeply miss his patients in retirement, many who have become close to family for him.

Spending 40 years as physician in one location means he’s been able to care for multiple generations of families. On Thursday, he said, he saw an infant that is a fourth-generation patient.

“It was quite magical really to be able to follow families for all that time,” he said.

Robertson said advances in technology, from the pre-internet days to today, have been incredible to witness.

“Everything just runs much more smoothly now,” he said, with the help of digital record keeping and the internet.

He credits his wife Jill for raising three successful sons while he was at work, “she’s the true hero of the story I would say.”

The pair plan on staying put in OK Falls to enjoy retirement with their grandchildren.

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