The new doctor slated to serve Houston has moved into town.
Northern Health local regional administrator Cormac Hikisch said that Dr. Onoura Odoh completed the Practice Ready Assessment, a provincial program that fast-tracks international doctors to practise in B.C.
He has now applied for a B.C. licence to practise, which remains the last barrier to him serving the community.
“He can’t actually practise medicine until that comes through, it’s expected to come in by mid-February,” said Hikisch. “[He] has already started to settle in at the Houston Health Centre, so he’s been on-site a few times this week receiving training on the electrical medical record that is in place now and getting to know the staff.”
“As soon as that licence comes through, he’ll be looking to work.”
Starting this Monday, people can call the Health Centre to get on a waiting list to become Dr. Odoh’s patient.
“Dr. Odoh will make decisions in the future about how patients are added to his panel, but we will be keeping a list for him in advance of him being able to provide service,” said Hikisch.
The ultimate plan for the Health Centre would be to have two doctors and one nurse practitioner. Hikisch noted that they are actively trying to hire the latter.
“We have received funding through Northern Health and moved forward with adding a nurse practitioner to that primary clinic,” Hikisch added. “It was something that was recommended to be explored by the Houston Health Services Review, and we’re trying to determine when the right timing would be to look at that based on the need for two physicians.”
They will also be adding two support staff, of which one was hired.
The final touches to the primary care clinic, which houses two doctor’s offices and two diagnosis rooms, are underway.
“There’s still supplies that need to go onto shelving and cabinets to go up, but it’s coming together and will be there for Dr. Odoh.
The Health Centre will host an open house in mid-to-late February that will have a tour, but no finalized date has been published.