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Cowrie Medical Clinic looking at offering Saturday hours

Cowrie Medical Clinic in Sechelt is planning to open on Saturdays – if there’s patient interest.
Dr. Koopman Sechelt Cowrie Clinic
Cowrie Medical Clinic is looking at offering Saturday appointment and walk-in clinic hours says Dr. Kevin Koopman.

Cowrie Medical Clinic in Sechelt is planning to open on Saturdays – if there’s patient interest. 

Later this month and into October, the clinic is looking at opening both scheduled appointments and walk-in clinic hours on Saturdays, says one of the clinic’s physicians, Dr. Kevin Koopman. 

“Given how overrun the emergency department is on weekends, and with the Gibsons clinic no longer offering walk-in clinics on Saturdays, we were thinking that if there was interest in the community that we would open up,” said Koopman. “Sadly, if there isn't any [interest], we'll probably stop doing it. Just because it obviously cut into our weekends as well.”

Saturday walk-in hours could be an option for “non urgent, semi urgent things that you don't want to wait in the emergency department for eight hours for,” said Koopman: ear infections, urinary tract infections, minor cuts and lacerations and the like. 

Tentatively the Saturday hours would start Sept. 23 and go from about 10 a.m. to lunch time and then lunch time to 4 p.m.

“Patients who are existing patients of our clinic can obviously book appointments to either have a phone call or in person appointment on that day, and patients who are walk-in clinic patients, or don't have a local family doctor, they can always call on the Saturday or come to the clinic on the Saturday to see if there's availability to be seen.”

Cancer screenings available 

Given the estimated 5,000 people on the Coast without a family doctor, the prospect of “if there’s interest” may seem funny, but since the clinic started cancer screenings for patients unattached to doctors in late August, only a couple dozen people have used the service, said Koopman. 

“But we weren't sure if it was more so just people didn't know [about the service],” said Koopman. 

The screenings are for the cancers that have provincial screening programs available, including cervical cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer,  and lung cancer. (Sunshine Coast residents can also screen for cervical cancer at-home by ordering HPV testing kits from BC Cancer.) Koopman said in a June interview that two of the big factors are age and family history of cancer. He suggested people contact the clinic (604-670-6222) if they think they’re eligible.

Merger reminder

Koopman also reminds patients that the Sechelt Medical Clinic will be merging with the Cowrie Medical Clinic at the end of the year.

The Cowrie clinic is losing three doctors who are moving off-Coast, said Koopman, and they aren’t being replaced. “So those patients, unfortunately, will be orphaned and abandoned,” said Koopman. 

“We always encourage people to voice their concerns to the government over not having a family physician with hopes of having other incentives come through for recruiting nurse practitioners and family physicians, because we firmly believe that everybody in the community should have a family doctor or a nurse practitioner attached to them,” he said. 

– With files from Keili Bartlett