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

Just Posted

Development permit issued for four-storey apartment on Dogwood Street

Proposed 63-unit building will include water conservation measures

Mark Chandler running for City of Parksville councillor

Chandler will focus on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and crime

New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

42 without homes agree to take survey on gender, age, health, length of time in community

Parksville singer to celebrate birthday with concert

Robbie Van looking to raise money for Haven Society

Mt. Washington season passholders to be the first to receive the new tech in-hand

The new hands-free tech will be in full effect for winter 2018-19

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read