New medical clinic coming this fall

Beach Avenue Medical Clinic to reopen this fall as Beachside Health. Photo Joanne Layh

Joanne Layh

After sitting vacant for several years, Beach Avenue Medical Clinic is set to reopen this fall as Beachside Health.

The medical clinic closed its doors back in 2019 when its main doctor retired and the remaining physicians also decided to leave after it became apparent that a new medical director couldn’t be found.

Since then, Peachland residents have had to leave town to see a doctor.

The building is owned by Wes Bedford, who up until his retirement operated the adjacent Peachland Pharmacy.

Now Wes and Judy Bedford’s daughter, Sarah Kendrick, has stepped up and is getting ready to reopen the medical clinic. 

“I grew up in Peachland. Wes and Judy are my parents, so I grew up in town working at the pharmacy since I was a kid,” Kendrick told the View. “My parents, as you can guess, get offers to rent that space all the time. Because they’re who they are, they really wanted to keep it available for a medical clinic because they know the need in Peachland better than most, because of my dad’s background with the pharmacy. So they decided to keep it empty, waiting for a doctor.” 

As time marched on, it became clear that finding someone to run the place would prove to be quite difficult, so Bedford enlisted his daughter’s help in the search. 

Kendrick’s background is in business and marketing, not medicine, so she started looking into what that process would be. It soon became clear to her that even if they should find a doctor, Peachland would still be vulnerable and have the potential to lose care should that person retire. 

She concluded that it would need to be set up as a business where the whole operation doesn’t hinge on one person. Kendrick and her partner hired consultant Geoff Trafford, who recently moved to Peachland and has an extended background in creating and operating medical clinics in the province. Trafford mentored and guided them through the process of seeing what is viable for the community, and the pair are now working with Interior Health to get a nurse and a nurse practitioner at the clinic when it opens, although at this point specific individuals haven’t been identified.

At the moment, they’re also actively trying to recruit doctors.

“Our first hope is that doctors who are already treating Peachlanders in the Okanagan can come and practice one day a week here in Peachland. We’ll have a team based care approach,” said Kendrick, noting they’ll also be looking to recruit full-time GPs from elsewhere.

“We live in the prettiest town in Canada so I think we should have a bit of an edge there,” said Kendrick.

“Peachlanders deserve to receive medical care in their community so we’re hoping to, as we grow and evolve, to continue to add pieces, where perhaps that means specialists rotating through on a weekly or monthly basis. We’re hoping to add physio, massage and chiro and other allied health providers, as well. That’s what we’re trying to build here and we’re really excited about it.”

The new clinic is expected to open this fall. Residents with patient requests or inquiries are invited to visit beachsidehealth.ca or email info@beachsidehealth.ca.

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