Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre Society
The Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre Society serves the communities of Sorrento, Blind Bay, Tappen-Sunnybrae, Notch Hill and Eagle Bay,comprising Area C, South Shuswap, of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
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 for approximately 3 years, then 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
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.
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 five years.
Our area population of 8,000 doubles in the summer when cottagers return and visitors arrive. In 2019, we are experimenting with having locum physicians 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!
Our Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/SorrentoHealthCentre/