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.
Our area population of 8,000 doubles in the summer when cottagers return and visitors arrive. Since 2019, we have secured locum physicians to come in and provide walk-in care available to respond to the many summer-time urgent care requests.
All in all, a good news story!
Theresa Walters, Nurse Practitioner
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.
Lenora Adrian, Medical Office Assistant
Candise Du Hamel, Medical Office Assistant
Lenora and Candise are currently job sharing, providing welcoming smiles to those who visit the Centre and support to Theresa. They each have many years of experience as Medical Office Assistants in Chase and in Vancouver. 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: