Wednesday April 23, 2014

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Doctor shortage: many factors at play



The front-page news flash (Coast Reporter, Nov. 16) advising the Sunshine Coast residents of the doctor shortage is alarming.

My first response is to hope that our community will live the healthy lifestyle approach with exercise, good diet, no smoking, proper sleep habits and minimal visits to the drop-in clinics, emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital or their regular doctor to reduce demand for care.

The other issue that is large is the human power of graduating health care providers. The medical care system, which is controlled by the government of the day and advised by the BC Medical Association, has hamstrung the delivery of care by preventing nurse practitioners from stepping into the model and providing collaborative care where clinics have not been able to meet the demand of the clients in the practice due to a doctor shortage.

The province has offered education to nurses who have completed the masters program at the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria and have qualified to provide care in B.C. They cannot find employment opportunities as the government will not allow billing privileges through BCMP for these NPs.

MDs cannot afford to pay these qualified nurses out of their billings, as they are limited in their overall billings per year. So this labour pool is denied the ability to provide vital care and services to this community as well as many others in B.C. Speak up to the candidates in the next provincial election if you care about collaborative, thorough, empathic health care delivered by nurse practitioners.

The time has come.

Mary Findlay, Gibsons



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