Saturday April 19, 2014

question of the week

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

We need more facts please



In response to your recent articles and editorial, yes, there is a doctor shortage here, as there is in B.C. and across Canada. The population ó and doctors ó continue to age. New graduate doctors are increasingly choosing to specialize. Foreign educated doctors have significant barriers to being licensed in Canada. Itís getting worse. No news there.

For years, I used to go to the walk-in clinic, but my family insisted I get a doctor. Fortunately, a new one came to town, so now Iím one of the lucky ones. Nice doctor, Iím happy with her. I went for an annual checkup, which consisted of blood pressure, requisition for blood/urine lab tests and perhaps eight minutes of general health discussion. Apparently they donít even check your ears, your lungs or your private parts any more! Iím wondering, do we really need a doctor to perform such a simple exam? Canít those and similar tasks be handled by a nurse or nurse practitioner, with referal to a GP where warranted?

A quick review of the MSP 2012 financial statements suggests that local full-time GPs are grossing $325K on average. After typical overheads, that amounts to about $200K per year before taxes. Thatís what the next GP who comes here will make, without even trying. Given the oft stated advantages of our community, whatís stopping GPs from setting up shop here?

Are the shortages here worse, on a per capita basis, than any other outlying areas? If so, why?

Perhaps your newspaper could dig a bit deeper and inform us as to what the real issues are. These are our tax dollars. Itís important that we are not held hostage to the medical associations, the federal government, the B.C. government and MSP, the teaching universities and the doctors themselves. We need more relevant reporting, please.

Alan Donenfeld, Gibsons



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