Closure a step backwards

Why is Interior Health downloading the work of certified STD public health nurses to already overburdened physicians?

As a former public health nurse who has worked in STD clinics in Penticton, Prince George, Kelowna and Vancouver, I am appalled at the shortsighted decision of Interior Health to close all STD clinics in the region. The Penticton clinic has been in existence since 1970.

As you can appreciate, the thought of having an STD is very anxiety producing — adding to this, you are a teen, you have had a partner out of marriage, you have no medical.

STD nurses are specialized in their field — since 2005 we have had to be certified by the CNRBC — acquiring skills to decrease a client’s anxiety which is paramount to getting an accurate sexual history. This can take a lot of time. STD clinics are comprehensive, one-stop shopping, ie history taking, physical exam, swabs, blood tests, contact tracing and medication. The STD clinic appointments are 45 minutes in length. Many of the people we see do not have an STD but they are worried, so we spend the time educate, prevent disease and promote a healthy sexual life.

Penticton will especially be impacted by the closure as we do not have any other comprehensive clinic in town such as Options for Sexual Health. Hence the fallout will be to the physicians and walk-in clinics. Some people do not want to see their own physician due to embarrassment, fear of a parent being informed if a teen, and fear of judgment (which is unfounded but real).

Many people do not have medical insurance although this should not be a barrier, as STD Control in Vancouver will pay for an STD visit and will pay for the medication. The difficulty is that neither the physician nor the walk-in is a one-stop shopping. The walk-in clinic appointments are much too short to do a thorough exam, history, treatment and follow up. Without MSP, just the visit to the walk-in clinic alone is $40-55. Unless IH has done a good job in informing the physicians and walk-in clinics of the change in the STD clinics, the client may be charged for the visit and the medication.

IH is taking us another step backwards in our health care — another gap in service, which in these times, we cannot afford. Why is Interior Health downloading the work of certified STD public health nurses to already overburdened physicians?

Jane Beulah

 

Penticton

 

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read