Physician shortage in area will be eased a bit

Four new doctors setting up in Pitt Meadows

The lineups in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to see a doctor during next winter’s flu season could be a bit shorter as four new physicians start setting up full-time practice over the next few months in Pitt Meadows.

The Pitt Meadows Medical Clinic, operating out of Pharmasave at 19070 Lougheed Hwy., which opened last week, already has the wife-and-husband team of Drs. Karendeep Gill and Nick Dasanjh, who are there a few days a week, with plans to gradually move to full-time.

Dasjanh had already been working two days a week in Pitt Meadows, while Gill will be transferring in full-time from Burnaby.

In the next few months, another doctor will relocate from Burnaby, while a fourth will return to Pitt Meadows from Coquitlam.

A fifth doctor from West Vancouver also will be at the clinic, though only for two months.

Part of the attraction is the lower overhead offered in the location, said Karam Abdul-Ahad, who owns the clinic, which is both a family and walk-in clinic.

The doctors could also move their families to the area to ease the daily commute, he added.

Abdul-Ahad said the couple is considering establishing a residential training program for UBC interns so they can complete their medical internships in Pitt Meadows.

“Without the two of them, none of this would be possible,” said Abdul-Ahad.

He is to meet with the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice next week to discuss those plans.

There used to be a family clinic earlier in the building, but those four doctors relocated elsewhere in Pitt Meadows in June.

That left the clinic empty for about six weeks before Abdul-Ahad was able to recruit the additional four.

“Fortunately, I was able to meet a couple of doctors who were interested. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll have four physicians, mostly from Burnaby and not from the general area,” said Abdul-Ahad.

“It’s quite exciting.”

According to the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, the fast-growing area is short 15 doctors. Another five doctors are supposed to locate here over the next year, replacing three who are either retiring or departing.

Four of those doctors are from the U.K., while the fifth is from elsewhere in B.C.

The Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice recently was turned down by Maple Ridge council for $150,000 funding to help the division recruit more doctors to the area.

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