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LETTER: The reality is, our health care system in B.C. is archaic

‘Our population is very overmedicated – especially seniors’

I’ve been seeing a lot of letters expressing concern about a shortage of physicians in the province.

This situation will never change as long as we continue to do things the same way. The definition of insanity: Doing something the same way and expecting a different result. Coming from the perspective of a retired nurse, I’d like to offer a different scenario.

The reality is, our health care system is archaic. In fact, it isn’t a health care system at all, it’s a medical care system. One hundred years ago a family doctor was the norm because there was no one else. This is no longer true because we have dozens of highly skilled health care professions. Simply put, it is no longer necessary – or efficient – that a physician be the entry into the health care system.

It would make more sense to have clinics in every community, staffed by highly trained nurse practitioners, nutritionists, physiotherapists, counselors, social workers, etc.

After an initial screening and assessment by the nurse practitioner, the client would be referred to another health care professional, one who can better address the patient’s needs. And address lifestyle issues that contribute to the illness in the first place.

This would include referral to a physician (except in the case of an emergency of course).

This way the physician would only see those patients that require his/her expertise. So many health problems don’t require a physician at all.

These other health care physicians should be given the authority to order lab tests, X-rays etc. And to order basic meds. Right now many doctors order a medication simply to placate the patient when it really isn’t necessary, our population is very overmedicated – especially seniors.

Another problem with our system is physician reimbursement, billing everytime a patient is seen. Wouldn’t it make more sense to pay physicians a very good salary? This would encourage doctors to spend more time with each patient – allay their anxieties, even teach them.

Our current system doesn’t encourage a physician to actually ‘heal’ someone because there is no financial incentive to do so.

Angie V Harriott

Qualicum Beach

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