EDITORIAL: Doctor shortage

Island Health is actively recruiting and advertising for doctors

It’s easy to blame Island Health for everything that goes wrong with the system in this region.

We should know, we do it often.

There are, however, some realities that should spare Island Health from the wrath of editorial writers and the general public alike.

Island Health has not created the worldwide shortage of physicians and other health-care professionals. And this is at the root of most so-called ‘problems’ with our system.

If you wait too long, perhaps hours, to be seen by a physician at the Urgent Care Centre in Parksville, it’s not Island Health’s fault. We have never heard of the health authority turning away qualified doctors for budgetary or other reasons. To the contrary, Island Health is actively advertising for and recruiting physicians.

How they treat these physicians when they do have them is another matter. Despite its taxpayer-funded nature, health care delivery and the relationships between the health authority and its doctors is a secretive world.

In fact, the relationship Island Health has with all of its employees and contractors is clouded in secrecy. For the most part, that’s understandable — privacy is paramount, we get that. However, when things go awry, Island Health goes into serious CYA mode and people are scared to go on the record for fear of retribution from the big, bad health authority.

That is simply not a healthy way to operate a publicly-funded entity. To avoid repeating scary, unsafe incidents, there’s a need for disclosure and yes, a need for Island Health to admit it has stumbled and is taking steps to avoid a similar stumble in the future.

All that aside, wait times at urgent care are a concern, have been since the new facility opened in September of 2013. Having physicians do this work off the side of their desks in addition to their own busy practices is not a prime way to operate an urgent care centre. In a perfect world, the Urgent Care Centre here would have four or five physicians dedicated solely to that facility. It is not a perfect world.

Consider where we live. Half a million gets you a fantastic house in an oceanside community that rarely sees snow or cold. Great golf courses. A talented and active arts community. If recruiting is difficult here, one can only imagine how difficult it is in less desirable locales.

— Editorial by John Harding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Coombs Candy Walk will not be held this year due to COVID-19. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Popular Coombs Candy Walk cancelled for 2020

Organizers promise ‘out of this world’ Halloween for 2021

(BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Most Read