Kitsilano Youth Fight Losing Pine Free Health Clinic
Kitsilano residents are protesting the closure of Pine Free Clinic, a longtime walk-in youth clinic at 1985 West Fourth Avenue. An online petition demanding that Vancouver Coastal Health provide more information about the closure of Pine Free Youth Clinic has 397 signatures on Change.org thus far.
The petition reads: “If the Pine Free is terminated, our community, and specifically our youths, will experience an increase in drug abuse, suicide, STI’s, depression, eating disorders, and pregnancy.”
As reported by the Courier, Bryan LaRochelle started the petition when he found out from people working at Pine Free that Vancouver Coastal Health plans to close the clinic down. Operating for more than 40 years, the clinic is well known to youth as a safe place to go for questions about sexual and mental health. UBC students, in particular, use it for STD and pregnancy testing. Staff are known to be supportive an non-judgmental. You may have seen the line up at Pine Free walking by, it often extends out the door and onto the sidewalk.
The concerns over funding cuts for Pine Free and other community health centres stem from Vancouver Coastal Health’s plan to restructure primary care services. Salary-paid doctors at clinics such as Pine Free may soon be paid on a per service basis.
Vancouver Coastal Health responded to questions from the Courier with an email: “Physicians are currently engaged in working with an independent consultant to pursue transitioning to a fee for service model which would see a clinic remain open at the Pine location.”
Vancouver Coastal Health’s website states that the health care services at Pine Free will be available at the Raven Song clinic, located on the corner of Ontario Street and East Eighth Avenue. There is no mention of whether this will result in any change to services at Pine Free.
David Eby, NDP MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, questions the move to cut funding to clinics like Pine Free. “It’s a model that works very well, and to see something like that taken apart for no reason is concerning,” he said.
Have you used Pine Free Youth Clinic? Do you want it to stay open? Share your thoughts below.