Agassiz, Harrison, Popkum and Rosedale residents will now have access to walk-in appointments at the Agassiz Community Health Centre, thanks to new doctors coming in to the community.
“This is something we’ve had in the past,” Robert Stam, manager of clinical operations at Agassiz Community Health Centre said. “We did have it for a number of years when we had a full complement of physicians, and now we’re increasing the number of physicians slowly and we have some space.”
The Agassiz Community Health Centre (7040 Cheam Ave) will be open as a walk-in clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., beginning Jan. 3. Future walk-in hours will be assessed as time goes on.
Right now, the goal of the walk-in hours is to provide members of the community without a family doctor the opportunity to get speedy access to medical care.
“Our doctors have spaces every day; it’s not like people are waiting weeks and weeks to see somebody,” Stam said. “But hopefully people who aren’t attached to a clinic will also use it.”
A lack of family doctors has been a key issue in the District of Kent and beyond. In January 2018, Agassiz resident Kim Kinnell shared her story of spending all day trying to get her daughter into a walk-in clinic.
With the Agassiz Community Health Centre’s new doctors and walk-in hours, that might not be so common of a story.
In 2018, the Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomed Dr. Rachel Collins and Dr. Ercument Bedir. Collins, who started in the spring, almost has a full patient load; Bedir, who started in the fall, is at half capacity.
Another doctor, Nikki Cohen, will be joining the health centre in early 2019.
Once Cohen comes into the health centre, there will be four general practitioners, three nurse practitioners and a number of specialists that come in on a weekly or monthly basis.
At this point, the new doctors are only accepting patients from the Agassiz, Harrison, Popkum and Rosedale areas. If not enough local patients sign up for those family doctors, registration will open to people from other areas in the Fraser Valley.
Residents interested in having Collins, Bedir or Cohen as a family doctor can visit the Agassiz Community Health Centre or sign up online through the Patient Attachement Mechanism (PAM) service.