Health Centre celebrates 10 years in operation

 | January 9, 2013

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years, but January 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Sun Peaks Health Centre (SPHC).

The concept of a multidisciplinary health centre was initially the vision of Dr. John Gossage in the late 1990s.

“Gossage, who was retired, received calls from residents and guests requiring medical attention but he and his medical licence were retired. (As a result) John met with Darcy Alexander (Sun Peaks Resort Corporation’s general manager) and others to present his vision,” said Sun Peaks Health Association president John Hatchett.
Sadly, Gossage passed away before the SPHC could open.

But, by December 1999, Hatchett and the Health Association board had taken Gossage’s vision and began developing the site for the SPHC and the First Responders Program, with assistance from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

In the fall of 2002, the Health Association, after a request from the Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and Tourism Sun Peaks, made the decision to purchase a trailer to use as a temporary home for the SPHC.

Since opening its doors the health centre has seen a steady increase in the number of patients it’s assisted, with 2012 seeing record numbers. It’s also seen a decline in the days that it isn’t open, and has been able to add special clinics to its offerings.

“Since 2007 we’ve added other seasonal practitioners such as a homeopath and acupuncturist. We now have a nurse practitioner, Jocelyn Rhodes, conducting women’s health clinics and are working on sports medicine clinics for the future,” said Hatchett.  

Sun Peaks Mayor, Al Raine, applauds the SPHC.

“I take my hat off to all of the people who’ve volunteered and been involved in establishing the (clinic) because it’s a fantastic service. It’s gotten better and better in the last couple of years,” said Raine.

Hatchett said the grand plan for the clinic is to obtain funding to build and operate a full-fledged health services and emergency care centre.
“Now with the citizens’ priority and the municipality’s active involvement we have that facility in sight. Local businesses including those in Kamloops have supported our (fundraising) for a new health centre and contributed to equipping the (clinic),” Hatchett said.

While there has been some concern that the SPHC may not be viable, the municipality believes it will be, explained Raine.

“The municipality is trying to put together a plan to develop a proper health centre (building). In the meantime, it’s really important that we continue with the present services because it’s giving (the municipality) an idea of how much demand there is.

“I’m convinced that if we have a clinic with longer hours and in a proper medical building and you combine injuries coming off the mountain with employees and residents’ health care demands, I think there’s enough (demand) here to keep one doctor here on a full time basis (with support of volunteer doctors). As soon as we can build this facility, it’s going to be busy,” said Raine.

Located in P2, next to the Sun Peaks Alpine Club, the SPHC is open for Sun Peaks and area residents and guests and offers consultations, prescriptions, crutches, knee immobilizers, casting and lab work. It’s currently open daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and operates reduced hours from April to November, and as physicians are available.

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