EDITORIAL: Doctor check-up

It was three months ago when we gave the Oceanside Health Centre its last check-up. It is with concern that we report today our patient still does not have a doctor. When this issue last visited our office, a quick check of its reflexes and a cursory look down its throat with a tongue depressor provided cautious optimism.

There was still time, specialist Sheila Cruikshank told us, to fix the centre's chief ailment, ie. the hiring of physicians so the facility could fulfill its promise of being open from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week.

"Because of the level of interest of people calling me already, I believe we will have the right people, the staff available, when we open," specialist Cruikshank, who will be the boss of this facility when it opens in June, said in the Oct. 18 edition of The NEWS.

In today's edition of The NEWS, our specialist offered this diagnosis (by e-mail):

"We have already had expressions of interest from physicians interested in this role and we do not anticipate any problems finding an excellent physician work team to provide care through the OHC to Oceanside residents."

That to us represents little or no movement on our patient's key issue.

To be fair, other symptoms have been treated. Imaging services have been secured and a call has gone out for nurse practitioners.

Still, the chief concern remains.

We would like to tell you what local doctors are saying about our patient, but they are not interested in sharing their diagnosis with our readers. The best we can offer is from a Nanaimo doctor-turned-politician, David Coupland:

"There's really nothing in it for them (local doctors). For them it just means expanding their hours and working weekends."

One might suggest this patient has lots of time to be cured, months for things to be settled and healthy. That may indeed be true, but the lack of comment or participation from local physicians is reason for concern and we're not exactly getting the feeling they are about to jump on board soon. This facility will not function without the participation of local physicians, period.

Paging specialist Cruikshank. You are needed, stat, in the public confidence and communication department. Paging specialist Cruikshank . . .

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