MEDICAL SERVICES in Terrace are shifting today with the opening of a new medical clinic, which is also aimed at attracting more physicians.
The Lazelle Avenue Medical Clinic is for people who don’t have a family doctor and who instead book appointments with an on-call physician.
Doctor Johnathan Moolman, one of the doctors involved in opening the new clinic, said the new office is not an walk-in clinic but is essentially an overflow from the Park Avenue Medical Clinic.
“It’s not really anything new,” Moolman said. “Just instead of doing [on-call appointments at Park Avenue Medical], we’re going over and doing it in that building.”
People will book appointments the same way, calling Park Avenue Medical starting at 8 a.m. in hopes of catching an open slot with the doctor who is on-call that day.
Clerks will then book those appointments at the Lazelle clinic, while patients booking appointments with their family doctors will still come to the Park Ave. building.
Although medical services won’t change, Dr. Moolman explained that one aim of the new clinic is to create space to entice more physicians.
“We need more physicians in town, said Moolman. “We’re trying to get another six physicians to come and we don’t have enough offices in this building to put them,” he said, referring to the Park Ave. location. “So the idea was, by having an office available, it would be easier to attract people to come and work in our community.”
Terrace doctors began hatching plans for the Lazelle on-call clinic several months ago, when the Park Ave. offices were filled out.
But the situation has changed since then, with three doctors planning to leave Terrace and vacating two offices at Park Ave. Dr. Raphael Elemuo is leaving at the end of August and Drs. David and Mirka Owen are leaving Sept. 19.
Replacements are, however, on the way with two international doctors expected soon. They’ve completed their medical residency in B.C. and in turn now have to spend time working in what’s considered an under-serviced location.
Eryn Collins from the Northern Health Authority said that all international medical graduates in B.C. programs are required to do a return of service for two years.