Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Members Making a Difference: Building a Women’s Health Clinic in Surrey-North Delta

Dr. Kim Costley has big plans for Freya Medical Clinic, which officially opened its doors in January 2023

Dr. Kim Costley is passionate about women’s health. “It’s something that every single woman is going to need help with at some point in her life,” she says, “And many are told they just have to cope with their symptoms because they’re women.”  

Many more still don’t have access to the primary care that they need – especially in Surrey-North Delta, which is growing rapidly. It’s a status quo that Dr. Costley wants to help shift, so when she entered the Vancouver Fraser program as an International Medical Graduate, she was thrilled about the opportunities it presented.  

“The plan was to do maternity care and as many women's health procedures as I could, so that I could make it a bigger part of my practice in the end,” recalls Dr. Costley. “Being in the Vancouver Fraser program was great because they're very flexible and they had a lot of opportunities to get more experience in women's health and maternity.”  


“Everybody knows how challenging it is to set up a new clinic."


While completing her Return of Service, Dr. Costley came to Surrey, where she connected with Dr. Pascaline Mahungu, an award-winning Family Physician whose area of focus is obstetrics and gynecology. It was Dr. Mahungu who, two years after Dr. Costley’s ROS was complete, asked why she wasn’t focusing on women’s health as she had intended. 

“My reason was that it's so busy when you start practicing. You have all these patients you're trying to settle in,” explains Dr. Costley. “I was trying to get accustomed to the system and procedures on the other side of not being a resident.” 

Despite her hectic schedule, the nudge from her mentor renewed Dr. Costley’s commitment to find a way to provide more women’s health services to patients in Surrey.  


The Trial: Assessing Community Needs 

Dr. Costley’s first step towards providing more women’s health services was to open some walk-in spots at her practice. But with the pressures of COVID-19 and Family Physicians retiring, she found that this approach was impacting her ability to care for the patients in her panel. 

“I thought it would be a good idea to have somewhere separate from my family practice where I could focus on women’s health,” she recalls, “but I couldn’t find a clinic in Surrey that I could join as a Family Doctor to provide these services.” 

It was Dr. Mahungu who offered a solution, in the form of a space on the first floor of her clinic’s building where Dr. Costley could trial a walk-in women’s health and maternity clinic. 

At this clinic, patients would tell Dr. Costley they had waited years for a PAP smear or an IUD. She was also seeing early maternity patients, including a high number of refugees and immigrants who didn’t have a Family Doctor.  

The clear need for these services was the confirmation Dr. Costley was looking for: “I said, ‘Ok, let’s do this.’” 


The Framework: Building a New Clinic 

In planning how Freya would operate, Dr. Costley sought advice and information from business owners, financial planners, banks and clinic managers. 

“Everybody knows how challenging it is to set up a new clinic,” says Dr. Costley, who she recalls one OB/GYN skeptically wishing her luck when discussing her plan. 

Despite these challenges, Freya Medical Clinic has been thriving so far. Following a Perinatal Community of Practice meeting at the Surrey-North Delta Division where Dr. Costley spoke about Freya, two more Family Physicians became inspired and now also see patients at the clinic, adding Hindi and Punjabi to the languages it offers.  

As far as Dr. Costley is concerned, this is just the beginning.  


“The Vision is Huge”: What’s Next for Freya Medical Clinic? 

Currently, Freya operates 1 or 2 days per week, depending on the availability of its three Family Physicians, with phone lines open 3 days a week. The services they offer include IUDs, birth control implants, STI screenings, and prenatal care. Patients are welcomed with or without referrals. 

This only scratches the surface of Dr. Costley’s plans for the clinic. “The vision is huge,” she admits. “The goal is for it to be a fully functioning, five days a week clinic. And we want to expand our services as well. I want Freya to be a ‘one-stop-shop' for women’s health.” 


"When our moms leave the hospital, where do they go to receive support if they don't have a Family Doctor?” 


Dr. Costley’s vision has been guided by the need she sees in the community – and the need is great. Surrey doesn’t have a lactation clinic – patients requiring those services have to be referred outside of the community. And many new parents who are struggling with breastfeeding simply give up. “I've seen so many babies because the hospital is so busy,” says Dr. Costley. “They get discharged from Surrey Memorial and the mothers have no support in terms of breastfeeding.” 

In addition to a lactation clinic, Dr. Costley wants to offer specialized care for postpartum and menopause, as well as health education and group counseling in a multi-disciplinary, team-based setting. 

“Working in maternity, I see the need,” says Dr. Costley. “When our moms leave the hospital, unless they go to the midwives who are getting full as well, where do they go for the follow up, to receive support until they are comfortable in managing a newborn? Where do we send them if they don't have a Family Doctor?” 


Being the Change You Want to See 

Dr. Costley is aware of the difficulties that lie ahead if she is going to bring her vision to fruition. But she is ready to take them on. “A lot of people will say, ‘You’ll lose money,’ or, ‘It'll never happen,’” she reflects, “But how are you going to know if you don't try?” 

Her advice to other Family Physicians who want to make a difference is straightforward: 

“If there is something that you want to see happen, you’re going to have to put some hard work into it,” she says. “We know that we're not going to suddenly get a whole bunch of Family Doctors just popping into our healthcare system. So what are the things that we can try to fix right now?” 


Are you interested in seeing patients at Freya Medical Clinic? Dr. Costley is looking for more physicians to join her in whatever capacity suits them, including on a casual basis.

Please contact Jody at to be connected.  

--> Find more information about Freya and how to refer on Pathways.