Island Health closes travel clinic in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Island Health looks to the private sector to provide travel vaccinations and advice.

Nanaimo’s publicly-run travel clinic is packing it in as Island Health looks to focus its resources on higher-priority public health issues and government-funded services.

Island Health announced last week it plans close its Nanaimo and Courtenay travel clinics early next year, leaving travel advice and vaccinations to pharmacists and physicians.

The Nanaimo clinic and its public health nurses have been doling out travel vaccinations, advice and supplies like mosquito netting for more than 2,000 clients annually since 2007. According to Brett Hodson, the health authority’s manager of public health, it was part of nurses’ practice, despite not being government funded. Clients were charged for consultations and vaccinations. Now, he says Island Health is getting out of the fee-for-service business, which can be made available through private providers.

Pharmacists, for example, can’t immunize children under the age of five, but could hire nurses to do the work. Doctors can also provide travel clinic services.

“I think given that public health priorities are increasing in importance … here is an opportunity to really get out of the business that can be supported by the private sector,” said Hodson. “We’d like to see a specialized travel clinic move into the markets in Nanaimo and Courtenay. See physicians pick up this business as a means to support the community or pharmacists expand their services.”

The nursing and administrative resources are expected to be rerouted to higher priority public health issues, the Central Island Communicable Disease program and toward increasing public health nursing capacity in the North Island.

The pending closure was news to David Ram with Rx RAM Pharmacy Specialists, whose business also already provides a full service and walk-in travel health clinic in Nanaimo. On-site pharmacists and nurses are available at the Townsite Road pharmacy.

A second travel health location will open at the new Millstone Medical Clinic in November.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reconciliation requires that all parties have a voice

Pipeline protests by the hereditary chiefs and their supporters have legitimacy, says letter writer

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship in Nanaimo

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Nanaimo drag queen Rick Meyers receives Victoria drag group’s highest honour

Queen City Sisterhood to bestow ‘sainthood’ upon ‘the divine’ Vicki Smudge

Qualicum Beach approves Pheasant Glen zoning amendment

Majority of residents who spoke at public hearing endorsed proposed amendment bylaw

Make your house a home at Nanaimo spring home expo

Building renovation and decor show taking place at Beban Park till Feb. 23

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

BC Senior Curling titles to be decided in Vernon

Wes Craig, Penny Shantz looking for fifth championships; Steve Wright, Donna Mychaluk into finals

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read