DAWSON CREEK -- Usually in Northern BC it’s the patient who has trouble finding a doctor, but one Dawson Creek OG/BYN is having the opposite problem.

Dr. Rafik Daihoum, a physician at Eljen Clinic in Dawson Creek, currently sees 12 to 16 patients a day but has the capacity to take on double that.

“People think that there is no gynecologist here so that's why maybe there is a shortage of the patients,” said Daihoum.

Dr. Daihoum is currently the only gynaecologist in Dawson Creek after long-standing gynecologist Dr. Sandeep Sharma departed from the clinic.

He moved to Dawson Creek from Ontario where he worked as a gynecologist in Fergus, a rural community just over an hour outside of Toronto after coming to Canada from South Africa.

He deals in high and low risk pregnancies, gynaecological surgery, and infertility-related procedures.

“We do our best to try give a chance for all patients to be seen, whatever a scenario is that needs to be seen by a specialist-- but they all can be seen, they all can be a benefit from our services,” said Daihoum.

During the time when there was no OB/GYN in Dawson, doctors would have to refer their patients to specialists in Fort St. John, Prince George, or Grande Prairie leading to patients sitting on wait lists that are months long.

According to the latest information provided by province’s surgery wait time database, there's less than five cases waiting for gynaecological procedures in Dawson Creek with an average wait time of just over a week.

That’s a stark contrast to neighbouring Fort St. John, whose wait times to have a specialist perform the exact procedures averages two to four months.

There are mounting concerns on the state of healthcare in the Peace Region, including many instances of specialists leaving. Dr. Dayhoum says one of the reasons could be due to a lack of patient volumes.

"Seeing specialists is a bit different than seeing just the family doctors because you have to spend more time with your patient since you are now advancing care--- patients expect a higher care of management," said Daihoum.  

Dayhoum says he enjoys the rural way of living and plans on staying in the region, especially when considering the arrival of a new Dawson Creek hospital and its location to the clinic that was recently acquired by the city.

“At the end of the day, my philosophy is always work for the patient, provide the best performance for the patients,” finished Daihoum.