Re: “Plan prescribes doctors for all,” Feb. 23, and “Health-care funding promises ignore reality,” Feb. 28.
The “GP for Me” program does not increase the number of doctors in the province, which is the real problem, and does not explain how the shortage arose.
The follow-up commentary gives a hint by saying that in the 1990s, various governments decided to limit the number of providers. More explicitly, it was a mid-1990s decision of the provincial, territorial and federal governments to reduce medicare costs by reducing the number of enrolments in medical schools across the country. This decision was in turn based on the Barer-Stoddard report of 1991.
Those who made these recommendations and decisions did not think through the ramifications of their decision. They should have increased the number of seats to handle increasing physician retirements and increasing population.
A few years ago, B.C. established satellite medical schools affiliated with the University of B.C. in Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George to undo the damage of the 1990s decision. Questions remain, though, and answers are still sought.
Will these additional seats result in enough doctors to fix the shortage, or will they just maintain the status quo with a constant doctor shortage, or will the problem worsen because even these additional seats will still not result in enough new doctors to fill retirements and increasing population?
© Copyright 2013