Wasaga Beach after-hours clinic closing, focus now on doctor recruitment

Town poured about $250,000 into the operation of the clinic, plus start-up costs

The end of the line for the Wasaga Beach After-Hours Medical Clinic will come April 1.

Council directed staff last night to concentrate on attracting doctors to the community.

“The more physicians we can recruit to our community the greater number of people we can roster with a doctor,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said. “The clinic is a nice service but it is expensive, not a core municipal service, and it doesn’t address the primary need of our town and that is more doctors. We are taking steps to change the landscape. In recent months, two physicians have established practices in Wasaga Beach and we anticipate that trend continuing as we move forward with recruitment.”

The after-hours clinic opened in November 2018.

The town invested a lot of money into the operation of the clinic, roughly $250,000 plus start-up costs.

The intent of the clinic was to determine if there was a need for such a facility, and if so, would the local Family Health Organization(FHO) take over the operation. The FHO is a group of about 50 doctors in the area that provides primary care to Wasaga Beach, Collingwood and the surrounding townships.

Stats a year after the opening of the clinic revealed it was a success and the town agreed last December to extend the clinic until the end of March while the FHO consulted members about whether to take over the clinic.

The FHO advised the town recently its members were not able to take on the additional work. There has been no indication from the province that funding for the clinic is available.

On behalf of council, the mayor praised the work of the medical community and their support of the after-hours project.

“Your commitment to our town is truly commendable and we are grateful for your effort during this exercise.”

The town has budgeted $30,000 for this year to assist in attracting physicians to the community.