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 - and doctors - continue to age. New graduate doctors are increasingly choosing to specialize. Foreign educated doctors have significant barriers to being licensed in Canada. It's 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 I'm one of the lucky ones. Nice doctor, I'm 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 don't even check your ears, your lungs or your private parts any more! I'm wondering, do we really need a doctor to perform such a simple exam? Can't 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. That's what the next GP who comes here will make, without even trying. Given the oft stated advantages of our community, what's 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. It's 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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