By Jessica Nyznik, The Examiner
A new virtual care clinic for residents without a doctor opens Wednesday on King St.
The Peterborough Virtual Care Clinic is on the fifth floor of Jackson Square at 185 King St.
It’s for patients who don’t have access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner.
It’s also been designed to recruit new physicians to Peterborough.
The clinic will provide primary care and connect patients with existing services in the community, as well as specialists.
Patients will meet with a registered practical nurse and connect with a family doctor through a secure video session.
Lori Richey, executive director of the Peterborough Family Health Team, said the clinic will be a “staging house” to gather patients for new physicians coming to the area.
“It’s a fantastic recruitment tool for new physicians, because many don’t want to start a family practice from scratch,” Richey said.
Two new physicians will be starting in the area in the fall, but they won’t fill the need locally.
About 7,000 people in the city and county don’t have primary care, Richey estimated. Doctors typically have a patient list of 1,500 people, which means roughly six new doctors are needed.
“This allows us to continually be proactive with recruitment,” Richey said.
At the clinic, virtual doctors will work the same day each week for continuity of care. So, if a patient visits the clinic on a Monday and needs a followup appointment, they’ll be rebooked on a Monday, so they’ll see the same doctor.
To start off, the clinic will run three times a week and will eventually expand its hours when needed.
Current hours are Mondays, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Peterborough Virtual Care Clinic accepts walk-ins, but appointments can also be made online at email@example.com or by calling 705-536-0882
The clinic is a collaborative effort of the Peterborough Family Health Team, the city and the Virtual Family Physician Network.
The city is funding the clinic until the end of March through its physician recruitment fund.
The Peterborough Family Health Team plans to open another clinic in Selwyn Township in the fall. It won’t be virtual though and patients will have access to a nurse practitioner.