– by Hermione Jefferis
The West Shore AVI Health Centre has been open in Langford for two days a week since November and already have a thriving and busy clinic with more than 75 patients coming in for opiate agonist treatment (OAT) and other family practice care. As only 13 of our patients have their own family doctor, this extra care is very important.
We have held a number of educational trainings in our group room, provided Naloxone kits and overdose prevention training to patients and their family members, and made numerous referrals for counselling and treatment.
In order to accommodate our increasing roster of patients, we are very happy to announce that beginning Monday, March 19th we will begin opening every Monday for an additional ½ day, from 1:00 to 6:00 pm.
The community has been very welcoming and many of our patients and their families have expressed gratitude to have this service in their home community. It is all very exciting and rewarding!
Our long term vision remains to expand into HIV and hepatitis care and treatment, offer more education and support group opportunities, and become a more comprehensive community health clinic. We are working on it. We are trying hard to secure funding so this good and necessary work can continue.
Our Board approved us going into our reserve funds to open this clinic as an urgent response to the current overdose emergency but we are a non-profit, and do not charge our patients the monthly fee that many other clinics do because we want to maintain an accessible, low barrier service. If any of you want to write letters of support for our continued work and potential expansion, we would welcome them!
For more information about the work we are doing in the clinic or at our other AVI sites across the Island, please do not hesitate to give us a call or write us an email.
From all of us on the Westshore AVI team we thank you for your support and encouragement!