The History of Sorrento's Community Health Centre
Dr. Don Paterson conducted a family practice in Sorrento for 34 years. When he retired, another physician took over his practice but stayed for less than two years at which point he moved his practice to Salmon Arm, 30 minutes away. The community was left without a primary care provider for several years. A committee of local residents tried in vain to recruit a physician without success. When they learned of a provincial government initiative, NP4BC, the committee applied for an NP and was surprised when they were successful.
Judy Deringer applied and became our first NP. The clinic opened to serve the area on November 18, 2013. Interior Health employs the Nurse Practitioner, paying her salary and benefits, and the community was tasked with providing the space and any office assistance. Judy retired on June 30, 2018, and Theresa Walters replaced her.
The community was excited and supportive and contributed generously to ensure the clinic was operational. A non-profit society was formed and obtained charitable status on April 22, 2014, so that donations could be tax-deductible. Our MLA, Greg Kyllo, and the provincial government have been very supportive as has been our regional district director, Paul Demenok.
When we first opened our doors to the public, we had volunteers provide reception. It was not until June 2014, that we were in a position to employ a part-time Medical Office Assistant. Initially, we were open for appointments four days a week; we are now open for five. We have two Medical Office Assistants who job-share, providing back-up for one another.
In the provision of primary care, we were expected to see the frail elderly, people with chronic disease, Sorrento residents without a regular care provider, summer visitors, pregnant women, and their families, and people with addictions and mental health conditions. Theresa now has a patient roster of 1000, which is the most she can manage effectively.
There has been tremendous support from the community; many individuals have donated money and time to the clinic. When one long term Sorrento resident passed away and left a large donation to the clinic, we established a Memorial Wall in his memory to recognize all of our donors! In 2015, Terry Lake, then Minister of Health visited the Centre and presented us with a cheque to cover expenses for three years. Along with continuing donations and an annual fundraiser, we have stretched that contribution out for six years. In 2020, Interior Health began funding most of the day to day operation of the Health Centre. The Health Centre still relies on donations to meet medical equipment upgrades and renovations.
Our area population of 10,000 doubles in the summer when cottagers return and visitors arrive. From 2019 to 2022, we secured locum physicians to come in and provide walk-in care available to respond to the many summer-time urgent care requests. We no longer have access to locum services.
All in all, a good news story!
Theresa joined our practice in July 2018, after working as a Nurse Practitioner in a work camp in northern BC where she was the primary health care practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Queen's University in April 2006. Following her graduation, she worked in hospital intensive care units. In April 2013, she completed her Master of Nursing program to become a Nurse Practitioner. She has done outpost nursing in Northern Ontario and worked as a Nurse Practitioner in the Northern Health Authority. She and Mike have purchased a home in the Shuswap and are ready to put down roots. They love the out-door opportunities the Shuswap provides.
Lyndsay graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UBC in 2012. She worked on various medical units and emergency department settings until completing the UBC Nurse Practitioner program in 2018. She worked in an emergency department in the lower mainland as a Nurse Practitioner prior to joining the Sorrento Health Centre in 2021. Lyndsay grew up in the Shuswap and is happy to return to her home town. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, making music, hiking and skiing.
Candise Du Hamel
Medical Office Assistant
Candise’s welcoming smile and sensitivity are appreciated by all those she interacts with at our clinic, as is her support to our Nurse Practitioners Theresa and Lyndsay. She has a longstanding 30 years experience in health care from working in the hospital in Vancouver to branching out into private clinics along the way. She settled into our clinic in 2018 and continues to welcome our patients with a warm heart and witty sense of humor. During her time off, she enjoys her family and friends and soaking up all the beauty of her Shuswap home.
Medical Office Assistant
Amber Burton is the newest member of the Sorrento and Area Health Centre family. She is working alongside Candise as a Medical Office Assistant and enjoys taking care of our patients at the clinic. Amber moved to the Shuswap from the coast in the fall of 2022 and has quickly integrated into our community. She loves to kayak and is already sharing the fruits of her labour from her garden. She is also a competitive goldpanner; an activity she enjoys with her son.
Amber has extensive experience as an MOA; having worked in several medical settings, including podiatry and paediatrics. Most recently she was a traffic management coordinator. She is a strong advocate for mental health and her cheerful personality and professional attitude are much appreciated at the Health Centre.
We have truly great staff. We are sure you will agree.
The Health Centre is managed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their time to ensure delivery of long-term Primary Health Care Services to residents of Sorrento & Area. If you are interested in volunteering your services in any area please contact the Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
1223 Trans-Canada Highway, Sorrento, BC, V0E 1H0