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The doctor is out: Georgina medical office closes walk-in clinic

Georgina Health Centre closes its walk-in clinic and lab services
July 22, 2019
Amanda Perscio

As a mother of two, Georgina resident Sabrina Sorochan-Irwin knows where the closest walk-in clinic is for those after-hours bumps, unexplainable rashes and sudden tummy bugs.

When the nurse practitioner clinic in Sutton is closed or can’t see her, she used to venture over to Keswick.

Several times, she found herself at Georgina Health Centre (GHC), an 18,000-square-foot medical facility on The Queensway South.

“I had a positive experience every time I went,” said the long-time Georgina resident. “It was one of the few with accessible, extended hours.”

One day, with a note posted to Facebook, GHC closed its walk-in clinic, leaving residents with few options for medical care.

“Georgina is already under-serviced,” Sorochan-Irwin said. “We don’t have enough services to support the residents we currently have.”

The Facebook note reads: “Georgina Health Centre will no longer be providing walk-in and lab services , We will be announcing new services in the coming weeks and months to coincide with the new governmental changes to the health care system.”

What new services will be introduced remains to be seen.

The sudden closure has residents wondering if lack of funding or challenges recruiting physicians are to blame.

After numerous attempts, the Georgina Advocate finally got in touch with the health centre's president.

“I’m not ready to comment yet,” said Dieneen Lepp. “We’re working on a few things.”

“When you take something away, you get the sense it’s not fair,” Sorochan-Irwin said. “We need more services.”

But more importantly, the closure leaves Georgina residents in a lurch.

There are a few other walk-in clinics in Georgina located on the Keswick side of town, but those offer limited after-hour and weekend care.

“People still need the services,” said Sorochan-Irwin. “Now, residents will have to leave our community to seek medical resources.”

Those living in the Pefferlaw or Sutton area already travel to Keswick for the majority of their medical needs. Now, those residents will have to travel even farther for medical care during off hours.

Not to mention the lack of public transportation services making travel to Newmarket harder for Georgina residents, Sorochan-Irwin said.

When the health centre was first opened in 2012, GHC was in the process of recruiting a team of five family physicians. The website currently lists three family physicians, but only one of which lists the Holland Landing GHC clinic as the primary practice.

Initially, the expectation was to have a team of up to eight doctors and it was built as a one-stop-shop health facility featuring a family medical clinic, pharmacy, radiology and cardiology departments, and a blood lab.

Walk-in services are still available Tuesdays and Thursdays at the branch in Holland Landing, in East Gwillimbury.

According to health centre staff, it’s business as usual for the other services offered at the Georgina clinic, including X-ray and ultrasound, pharmacy, dental, chiropractic, audiology, cardiology, physiotherapy, chronic care management and family speech therapy.

The national cannabinoid clinic, Vaughan community health services, metabolic diet clinic, medical spa and foot clinic remain open.