Governments need to address doctor shortage

RE: New clinic will be pilot project (PQB News, Feb. 21)

RE: New clinic will be pilot project (PQB News, Feb. 21)

When I read this article, I am reminded of the phrase “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after she struck an iceberg.”

It is true that we have a severe shortage of physicians not only in our area, but also throughout Canada. This applies to both family physicians as well as medical specialists, as also shown by the long waiting lists. Are we going to rob medical professionals from one geographic part of Canada to fill our vacancies?

The primary source of the problem is lack of competition and its root cause, the antiquated Canada Health Act. Secondly, the salaries of general practitioners are grossly insufficient considering their years of education, the burden of overhead expenses such as employer share of ever increasing government levies (CPP, EI, etc.), private pension plan contributions for self employed, higher personal income taxes when not incorporated, and infrastructure expenses.

No wonder medical school graduates select a specialty program such as ophthalmology, which currently pays almost triple the billing of a family physician. Alternatively, by allowing family physicians to charge the patient directly what the market will bear, we will soon observe a decline in physician shortages. Consequently, to increase the overall supply of medical professionals, medical schools will be required to increase medical student enrolment.

As a retired professional, I can state from experience that governments are not the solution; they are part of the healthcare management problem. My sympathies go out to Dr. Morris.

Anthonie den Boef

Nanoose Bay


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