After completing my ECE (Early Childhood Education) in Vancouver, I found a real shortage of people with this certification on Vancouver Island. Consequently, after being offered three positions, I accepted one in the Parksville area. In my mid-50s however, I have not been able to find a family doctor anywhere in this area who would take on a new patient. Apparently, I am by no means the only one and the situation here is quite desperate.
In the absence of a family doctor, I had to rely on the new Oceanside Health Centre to have an ongoing stomach complaint diagnosed (my father passed away with stomach cancer at the age of 50.) I was provided with a basic consultation and blood test, but only to be told that I would need to go to a family doctor for further testing in order to receive an accurate diagnosis.
This is 2015 in Canada. Does this mean I have to leave Parksville and go back to Vancouver? Perhaps I should have been wise enough not to come in the first place. How does the local MLA, MP, the mayors and councils expect to maintain any economic growth if people don’t even have access to basic services such as family doctors?
There have been many promises of new doctors, but where are they? If I am forced to leave my current job, at least four families would lose their childcare, which would have an immediate impact on not only those families but also the local economy. And that is just one small example. If one looks at the big picture, senior residents would not only stay away from the island, if they were to come at all, they certainly wouldn’t stay around when something as fundamental as a family doctor is not to be found.