Parksville Qualicum Beach needs at least 10 family physicians

The size and structure of clinics are big issues for new medical grads

A packed room of residents learned Monday night the current shortage of family physicians in this region isn’t likely to get better any time soon.

About 175 people packed a room at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre — they spilled into the hallways and outside — to hear a presentation by Dr. Mark Morris of the Oceanside Division of Family Practice. Morris said the region is currently short 10 family physicians and the situation could get worse because 10-14 GPs are planning to retire in the next five-10 years.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada suggests a family doctor should have about 1,200 patients. Here, Morris said doctors are carrying as many as 2,500 patients and there are approximately 4,500 people without a family physician in this region of 46,000.

“You can imagine the wait times (to get an appointment) when there are this many patients a physician is looking after,” said Morris a family doctor based in Parksville. “For me, that’s tough to swallow — as a physician we want to look after our patients.”

After presenting all the numbers, Morris showed the crowd what is being done, and what could be done, to help the situation. He said a group of politicians, health professionals, residents’ associations, business leaders and physicians has formed to address the problems.

“We are really trying to solve this problem as a community,” he said.

Morris said the creation of larger clinics could be one way to attract more physicians. He said doctors, especially new grads, are more concerned about a balance in their lives.

They are more inclined to practise where they know there are other doctors in the clinic who can cover for them when they want to take time off. These physicians would also like to spend less time administering the business side of their practice, which could be alleviated by a large-model clinic.

“We have a lot of headaches that are associated with any business,” said Morris. “The newer physicians really don’t want that. They want to come in and just practise medicine and I really don’t blame them.”

The division’s GP for Me program co-ordinator Shelly McNeil explained how the people of Gabriola Island had some success in that regard. She said they started a society and foundation to raise money, build a clinic and is “now fully staffed with physicians.”

Recruitment efforts continue in Parksville Qualicum Beach, but Morris and McNeil said two recent visitors chose to practise in Nanaimo because of the size and structure of the clinics here.

During a question/answer period, one resident asked if there was an opportunity to make offers to family physicians in Fort McMurray who may be without patients for many months as that city rebuilds after a devastating forest fire destroyed thousands of homes.

“We don’t want to be poaching in a bad time,” said Morris. “I don’t want to be giving our area a bad name.”

Morris said the division will consider another public meeting on the issue soon.

“What we’ve gathered from this is there’s a lot of public interest — I think we will have another event.”

Just Posted

CRIME: Thefts of vehicles, TVs, $300 in meat in Parksville QB area

Pair of prawn traps also stolen from Nanoose Bay

Prolific Parksville graffiti tagger gets 1 year of probation

Man was in breach of previous court conditions when arrested again

Qualicum Beach gaming company awarded virtual reality game of the year

Cloudhead Games lauded as it teases new project with ‘industry giant’

Parksville martial arts student earns first international gold

Training pays off for Cascadia Martial Arts pupil Gucela

Single-use retail plastic bags to be banned in Parksville March 1

Over the next few months, the city will undertake public education outreach

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Most Read