You might be able to see your family doctor sooner than you think.

Dr. Adam Thompson is the COVID-19 Physician Lead for the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice. He spoke with the MyComoxValleyNow.com newsroom and explained what the future will look like for family care.

He said that moving forward, family doctors in the valley will be looking at ways to bring back in-person appointments.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will start the provision of a slowly increasing amount of in-person healthcare in Family Practice Clinics, and provide some of the routine healthcare that could be safely suspended at the beginning of this pandemic, such as screening, through a stepwise plan.”

“This plan will only progress as long as the risk of COVID to all of us remains low through your sensible actions.”

Dr.Thompson says, however, video or telephone appointments will continue unless an in-person consultation is necessary.

“In the first instance, we will continue to see patients virtually, via video or on the telephone.
Where we deem it necessary, not just for urgent conditions or conditions we couldn’t diagnose without doing a physical examination, but for some examinations needed for chronic diseases or some screening for example—face to face care will slowly start to occur in our own clinics.”

He adds that it’s important that we go through these next steps cautiously and safely.

“It is important that you continue to follow the measures that Dr. Henry advises; it is through all of our behaviour that we will prevent COVID-19 cases rising again.”

Dr. Thompson provided a few reasons why everyone won’t be receiving in-person care. They include:

We have to continue to reduce COVID risk in our offices through physical distancing, which will reduce the amount of people we can have in our office at any one time.

The risk of COVID has not gone away—consequently, our Health Authority requires us to wear PPE (masks and eye protection) during all in-person encounters. PPE remains in short supply worldwide—therefore we have to be economical with its usage.

We have to clean our exam rooms frequently and thoroughly to ensure you are not at risk of catching COVID from your visit- this will reduce the number of people we can see in our office each day.

We know that virtual care is safe and effective in a number of conditions and welcomed by a number of our patients as more convenient.

He says the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice wants to reassure everyone that safe care will continue to happen and that you will be seen in-person if it is clinically necessary.

This does not mean that everyone can be seen back in the office, but over time he anticipates seeing more clients in the office as long as COVID-19 cases do not rise.