Doctor Jessica Luksts is being recognized on BC Family Doctor Day for her part in the early days of the pandemic. (Submitted)

Celebrate BC Family Doctor Day on May 19

The South Okanagan Similkameen has over 80 family doctors serving the community

On May 19 you can celebrate the more than 6,000 family doctors across the province on BC Family Doctor Day.

In recognition of one local family doctor, Penticton-based family medicine practitioner Dr. Jessica Luksts has been named a 2021 BC College of Family Physicians award winner as part of the BC Family Doctor Day celebrations.

Dr. Luksts is being honoured for her part in helping to ensure there was adequate personal protective equipment for the medical community in the early days of the pandemic.

Luksts was also part of the team of doctors and nurse practitioners that worked with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice (SOSDFP) and City of Penticton to open the McLaren Arena COVID-19 assessment centre in Penticton on March 30, 2020, one of the first to open in the province.

“I am so lucky to live and work in such a supportive community. Never was that demonstrated more than in the early days of the pandemic,” said Luksts. “Our local family doctors and nurse practitioners got together and made sure that our communities had the personal protective equipment and facilities we needed to ensure patients and care providers were protected.”

Family Doctor Day is also a time to remind patients that their doctors are taking in-person appointments again.

Starting in March 2020, family doctors adopted phone and video technology for patient visits to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19. These technologies still account for approximately 70 per cent of patient appointments due to heightened safety guidelines for in-person appointments.

“While we are still reliant on technology as long as the restrictions are in place, we want patients to know that clinics are open,” states Oliver family physician and SOSDFP board chair, Dr. Kevin Hill. “Family doctors and nurse practitioners are seeing patients in person when needed.”

READ MORE: Urgent and Primary Care Centre opens doors on Penticton’s Martin Street

Patients without a family doctor or nurse practitioner can visit local walk-in clinics or the recently opened Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Martin Street in Penticton.

Clinic hours and booking processes are available on Pathways Medical Care Directory at www.pathwaysmedicalcare.ca.

The South Okanagan Similkameen is home to more than 80 family doctors providing full-service, longitudinal family medicine care to local residents in clinics, hospital and longterm care.

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