Two new medical clinics have popped up in the same block along Highway 33 near Asher Road in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood. But it doesn’t mean there will be plenty of openings for people looking for a doctor.
One of the clinics, MEDLIV, is owned by a local physician who is relocating his practice. He has a full slate of patients already. Pediatrician Dr. Daniel Dobroskay, who has joined the staff, is taking referrals from family physicians — but the search is on for more doctors.
“As soon as there’s a new doctor, or a second or third doctors, then it opens up for many more patients. Any yes, we do want to attract Rutland patients from the community, from the area, but once we have new doctors. So there’s absolutely no way we can take any patients at the moment,” explains Dr. Martin Horn.
Competition to attract new physicians is fierce, and that’s one of the reasons he is going public about his search.
“Kelowna is the most beautiful place, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to attract doctors, but in the end it’s very, very challenging,” says Dr. Horn, who adds that having a beautiful workplace with the latest technology will, hopefully, give him an advantage.
However, he can’t just sign up the doctors who apply. They will have to go through the official channels with Interior Health, and that can be a long process.
“There’s a process and doctors know it very well. So, certainly, if they’re out-of-province there’s a process, and if it’s international it’s yet another process,” he notes.
It’s not just doctors who are in short supply, Dr. Horn is also competing for a limited pool of medical office assistants and nurse practitioners.
Once he has a few more people on his team he’s looking forward to finally taking some time off. He hasn’t taken a vacation in two years.
The other clinic on the same block as MEDLIV is called Rutland Community Clinic, but it's still behind construction fencing. Both are just down the highway from the location of the new urgent and primary care centre in Rutland that is due to open this fall.