Ortho care boosted with new surgical hire 

VCH to monitor program to see if outcomes deliver

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A familiar face will be the Sea to Sky's new full-time orthopedic surgeon.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) confirmed this week that Dr. Sarah (Sally) Clark has been hired in the wake of Dr. Pat McConkey's retirement. Clark joins Dr. Alex Brooks-Hill as the corridor's second orthopedic surgeon.

She was hired after community-wide lobbying efforts were successful in ensuring two orthopedic surgeons remained within the Sea to Sky corridor, based out of the Squamish General Hospital.

With the new hire comes expanded orthopedic service at the hospital, upping VCH's funding to the program by more than $300,000 per year over and above pre-existing funding levels.

Clark was chosen from a field of 17 applicants, which was short-listed to six, and then narrowed down to four for interviews.

"Our selection team was unanimous in the decision that Dr. Clark fit the needs of the community very well," said Laurie Leith, a director at VCH

In addition to hiring Clark, VCH has created a coastal division of orthopedic surgery, ensuring that the two corridor surgeons and the ortho surgeons from Lion's Gate Hospital provide on-call coverage with the Sea to Sky.

They will also provide services to a fracture clinic at the Whistler Health Care Centre over three days.

"We're excited to get it going," said Leith of the program. "I think it will be a really positive outcome for the community and a great program servicing the corridor."

At the same time the Sea to Sky Health Care Foundations' Triboard contributed between $100,000 to $200,000 in start-up funding to provide equipment at the hospital. VCH will cover operational costs.

"I think it's a really good news story and a good demonstration of collaboration between Vancouver Coastal and all the stakeholders," said Leith. "I hope that it has good outcomes. I'm sure it will."

VCH will be monitoring the outcomes moving forward to see if the program delivers the way it was set up to, providing care to corridor residents, reducing travel time for patients, and creating a continuity of care for patients with local doctors, among other things.

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