Patients upset over doctor’s departure from local clinic

Dr. Vivian Kilvert's patients are distressed by news that Kilvert's contract with the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic will not be renewed.

Patients of Dr. Vivian Kilvert are upset after learning that she will no longer be with the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic as of Aug. 9.

Joan Etheridge of Ladysmith, who is a patient of Kilvert’s, says she hears Kilvert has been asking for too many tests to be done for the diagnostic and monitoring needs of her patients and consequently is over budget.

“We’re upset about our favourite doctor being fired for being too good at what she does,” she said.

Ladysmith’s Gerry Yellowlees, who has seen Kilvert when his doctor was away, is upset as well,

“This doctor is an excellent doctor and she’s being let go because she’s an excellent doctor,” he said. “This is ridiculous.”

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) could not comment on the specifics of Kilvert’s contract.

“Vancouver Island Health Authority cannot disclose any circumstances relating to the contractual relationship between any physician and the health authority out of respect for the confidentiality of those involved,” Bruce Patterson in the VIHA communications department stated in an e-mail.

Etheridge and Yellowlees were surprised to hear from other patients that Kilvert’s contract was not being renewed. They received a letter from Kilvert July 9 informing them that her time with the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic would end Aug. 9. They also received a letter from the clinic on July 17.

Kilvert has been sharing Dr. Graham Brockley’s practice at the clinic for about four years.

“As of August 9, 2013, Dr. Kilvert will no longer share this practice and will not have a permanent contract within the VIHA Family Practice Clinic,” states the letter to patients from the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic, which is signed by site manager Heather Dunne, Kilvert and Brockley. “We know that many of you will miss Dr. Kilvert, and we know that the most difficult part of this change will be in losing her relationships with her patients that she has so cherished. Dr. Kilvert has considered it a privilege to have served as your physician and wishes you health and happiness in your future. We, as a clinic, and I am sure I speak for you as patients, wish the same for Dr. Vivian Kilvert as she pursues other avenues in her career and life.”

Dr. John Potts, one of the original physicians in the previous MonkeyTree clinic in Ladysmith, will start in this half-time practice Sept. 2.

“VIHA is committed to providing accessible, high quality care to residents of the Ladysmith area,” said Patterson. “We’re pleased Dr. John Potts will join the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic in September.”

Yellowlees said he intended to write to the B.C. Medical Association and VIHA patient care, but he was frustrated that patients weren’t given very much notice.

“What we’d like to do is have the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic consider the patients in the future with the consequences of their actions and also keep Dr. Kilvert in some capacity,” he said. “We’re trying to be positive about this and say ‘how can we turn a negative into a positive?’”