The Burns Lake Medical Clinic Society has postponed the arrival of a South African doctor until they get the financing in place for their proposed not for profit medical clinic.
According to Paula Van Tine, society board member, Dr. Roland Englebrecht and his wife are still signed on to come to Burns Lake and are prepared to wait until the plans for the clinic are finalized.
The doctor was scheduled to arrive in Burns Lake during August 2012, the month the society had originally planned to have the clinic opened by. “We don’t have an arrival date set for him at the moment, as we don’t have a clinic yet,” Van Tine said.
She said Dr. Englebrecht is still looking forward to coming to Burns Lake. “He knows about small communities because his family moved to a small community when he was a child,” she said, adding that he is currently working in Swellendam, South Africa, a town of 28,072 people. He will continue working there until the not for profit clinic is ready to open.
She said he has emergency room training and has met all of Northern Health’s trauma and emergency room training requirements.
“We have been working with Dr. Susan MacDonald and Michael MacMillan from Northern Health during recruitment and there is also immigration involved too,” she said.
The society is still in the process of finding start up funds for the clinic and is in the process of looking for a location.
“We are looking at several in town sites. There is strict requirements from both Northern Health and WorkSafe B.C. about air exchanges and heating so we are looking for infrastructure with a relatively new heating and cooling system, but we are definitely looking for a lease, we are not looking to build anything.”
Van Tine said the society is currently working with Community Futures Nadina on a business plan and she said they hope to have the business plans ready by mid August 2012 so they can search for further funding opportunities.
“We are looking at an amount of around $120,000 to open the clinic … we have been told by Community Futures Nadina that we have a good business model and we truly believe that we are filling a gap in service,” she said.
According to Van Tine, Northern Health suggests six full time equivalent doctors should be working in Burns Lake at a minimum.
“We will be providing another place for people to go and see a doctor. A choice for people. We will also be providing an opportunity for people to find a family doctor if they don’t already have one.”
Van Tine said that Flintstone Mining Division recently provided the society with a $5000 donation and one of the society’s directors also donated $500.
“Wayne Svehla has been the chief fundraiser,” Van Tine added.
To date the society has $30,500 sitting in trust towards start up costs.
“Nechako Kitimaat Development Fund Society said they are willing to take a second look at the project so we will possibly be looking at a matching grant from them and we are open to taking out a loan to fund start up costs … I think it is quite possible that this is the way we will have to go.”
Van Tine said the society also plan to hold an annual general meeting in the coming months, which will be open to the public.
She said there is approximately 200 local residents that have paid $20 to sign up to be members of the Burns Lake Medical Clinic Society. “The board will be asking for direction from them,” she added.
Van Tine said the funds raised through membership were used to pay directors liability insurance fees, purchase green ‘membership drive buttons’ and will be used to purchase a business license from the Village of Burns Lake. “This is the only money that we can touch and use, the donations towards the clinic will stay in trust,” she said.
According to Van Tine there has also been some changed to the board, with local resident Donna Brochez stepping down as the society’s president due to health reasons, Frank Varga stepping down as treasurer due to time commitment issues and Donna Harrison also stepping down citing time commitment issues.
Van Tine said the new board is Daniella Oakes, Wayne Sevhla, Frits Goossen, Rick Schritt, John Illes, Jim Minger, Howard Broten, Eileen Benedict and herself.
“We have a vibrant and hard working board that has been meeting every second week since the middle of March 2011. We are dedicated to work towards the goal to provide more health care for the community.”