LETTER: Ongoing doctor shortage is unacceptable

LETTER: Ongoing doctor shortage is unacceptable

After a very frustrating day spent trying to find a family doctor, I would love to see a follow-up to an article written in the Parksville Qualicum Beach newspaper in February 2017 about our doctor shortage.

From the article:

“This region of approximately 46,000 people should be served by 38 family physicians, according to the doctor/patient ratio recommended by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. When the Perfect Storm Group started its work in late 2015, there were 24 full-time-equivalent family doctors, with 10-14 of them planning for retirement. Those numbers have gotten worse — four more family physicians have left practices here in the last year. An estimated 4,500 residents of the Parksville Qualicum Beach region are without a family doctor.”

Has there been any change since then? Are there any new doctors that aren’t just replacing the retiring doctors? Are there any doctors accepting new patients? Why is there no central place to phone, or even a waiting list to join should one become available?

In an emergency you can go to Urgent Care, but if you don’t have a family doctor and you just need a check-up, a referral to a specialist, or a prescription changed, why is the nearest walk-in clinic 20 kilometres away in Nanaimo (using the centre of Parksville as a starting point — it is much further from other areas in Parksville Qualicum Beach)? What if you don’t drive or have access to transportation? It is a $70 cab ride.

We pay for our medical treatment just like the people in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Courtenay. The estimated 4,500 people in Parksville Qualicum Beach without a doctor need to speak up and let the government of British Columbia know this is not acceptable.

Karen Tomblin


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