Beginning in June, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients in Kamloops and the surrounding region will have the opportunity to access care closer to home at a new outreach clinic based at Royal Inland Hospital.
MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Due to the complex nature of MS, patients require the expertise of a neurologist and specially trained nurse.
The Kamloops outreach clinic represents an expansion in service, allowing patients who would ordinarily have travelled to Kelowna or the Lower Mainland the option of being seen at Royal Inland for a consultation with local neurologist Dr. Mudassir Iqbal.
A nurse from the MS clinic at Kelowna General Hospital will travel once a month for two days to support Kamloops area patients. The MS clinic in Kelowna will continue to provide day-to-day support for all MS patients within Interior Health.
“Patients from the western region of Interior Health, including the Cariboo, North Thompson, and the Shuswap, now have the opportunity to see a neurologist in Kamloops for consultations instead of travelling to Kelowna or the lower mainland,” says Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree.
There are currently approximately 800 MS patients living within Interior Health. About one third of these patients reside within the region served by Royal Inland.
“A Kamloops-based clinic is an option we have long advocated for,” says Dr. Paul Dagg, Chair of the MS Society Kamloops Chapter. “We know for many patients travelling long distances can be not only inconvenient but also challenging to manage depending on their symptoms.”
The outreach clinic will use space in the Cancer Clinic on the eighth floor of Royal Inland and will serve approximately 10 patients per day. The first appointments will occur June 5/6.
The current physician referral and diagnosis process will not change.
Demand will be monitored and evaluated during the first year of the outreach clinic’s operation.