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Letters Jan. 27: Stop complaining, negotiate new MD fee structure; is private care the answer?

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Letter-writers have a variety of suggestions for alleviating the doctor shortage, from negotiating higher fees to allowing more private care. THOMAS KIENZLE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Try negotiation, not public complaints

Re: “GPs are not getting the money they deserve,” letter, Jan 25.

There have been innumerable references in letters to the editor recently regarding the $31 office visit renumeration family doctors receive.

I find it inconceivable that doctors need the public to demand appropriate pay for the work they do. There are very qualified people with extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the health-care system representing them at many bargaining tables.

I beg your pardon, professional association/public employer conferences.

At the risk of upsetting my truly remarkable family practitioner, I believe his union is quite capable of getting any required supplements to make their vital work worthwhile.

The inter-discipline haggling for funds may get ugly, and I am not suggesting the pot should not be made bigger through higher taxes. Privatization of health care is bandied about too frequently and is the anathema to British Columbia’s best hopes.

The money people deserve for their work is always best acquired through negotiation. Not uninformed, intemperate complaint.

Max Miller
Saanich

No fix to MD crisis? No more NDP rule

John Horgan’s NDP government is negotiating with doctors. The next election must be held before Oct. 20, 2024.

That should be plenty of time for desperately needed reforms in salaries, fees and working conditions to take effect.

However, by then, if the number of citizens in Greater Victoria with no GP, no primary care doctor, does not fall dramatically from the present shameful level of 100,000 — let’s vote the Horgan NDP out!

Eric Manning
(who has no GP)
Victoria

Allow private care to relieve the shortage

Re: “Two doctors’ frustrations a sign of turmoil in health care; 3,000 patients displaced,” Jan. 20.

I have a suggestion for the embarrassment felt by Dr. Chelsie Velikovsky when she tells patients: “Sorry, there is not currently a psychiatrist accepting new patients right now.”

I suggest that a British Columbia doctor who chooses to do so, be allowed to provide privately funded care for one day for every four days that he or she has provided publicly funded care.

The privately funded care would include an “immediate access” fee along with the equivalent of the public fee.

Bob Bray
Campbell River

Pay an electrician more than a GP gets

Re: “GPs are not getting the money they deserve,” letter, Jan 25.

I recently had a visit from an electrician to fix a problem with some track lighting. Nice guy, good job; also replaced a wall switch and a couple of bulbs. Was there about 30 minutes; $297.

John Stevenson
Victoria

Lots of new houses, but what about doctors?

Re: “Thousands of houses, jobs in proposed $1.2 billion project at Royal Beach in Colwood,” Jan. 25.

The development will create 2,850 new single-family homes. A Colwood population growth to 22,700 by 2028.

Colwood’s only medical walk-in clinic is due to close in April this year due to the desperate shortage of medical doctors.

Just where are all these new people going to obtain their medical care? Have the developers figured that out?

Or perhaps they don’t care.

Dr. Alan Porter
Retired family physician
Victoria

We can do better with hospital parking

I am a retired physician and have always thought that hospital parking charges flout the founding principles of the Canadian Health Act.

Our province’s five (geographic) health authorities are entrusted with multimillion-dollar operating budgets. Parking fees contribute less than one-third of one per cent of their total.

I was disappointed the province is to bring back parking fees blaming non-hospital users for taking advantage of the free parking. Health Minister Adrian Dix says he has received hundreds of complaints from people who could not find a spot.

I wonder how big a problem this is for the hospitals with which I am familiar, namely those in Oliver, Penticton, Kelowna, and on the Island, the General, the Jubilee and Saanich Peninsula. None have parking that is convenient for anyone wishing to do shopping or business in the downtown area.

I wonder if the primary problem is a lack of adequate parking. Non-hospital users are a poor excuse, for it would be easy to introduce a system where anyone using the hospital could on leaving collect a dated token from the ward clerk or equivalent to present to the car park attendant to prove their parking was legitimate.

Some patients are going to get their parking fees waived, others with financial hardship will be managed on a case-by-case basis. I wonder how much time, inconvenience and paperwork this will entail. None of this is necessary with free parking.

Clive Bruton
North Saanich

Enforce Saanich bylaws equally and fairly

Re: “Thanks for the action on safety in Saanich,” letter, Jan. 21.

How nice to read the optimistic letter regarding road safety in Saanich.

But I am a realist and see this gesture from the mayor and council for what it truly is, pandering in an election year.

For two years, I have been asking Saanich to enforce bylaws that would make the roads near Hillcrest Elementary School safer. Nothing has been done.

Every day, dozens of people, mostly school kids, walk on busy roads to get to and from school or wherever it is they venture. We have few sidewalks in the neighbourhood, so the need for unobstructed boulevards is essential.

However, due to apathy or incompetence, there are at least a dozen violations along the street, including boulders, shrubs, hedges and fences blocking municipal boulevards.

Some plantings even extend onto the road by as much as two feet. Still nothing gets enforced.

The bylaw department and mayor are happy to force roadside stands to close citing the need to enforce bylaws “on the books,” but refuse to enforce some noise bylaw violations. They are happy to evict students from housing, but refuse to force some homeowners to remove obstructions that violate bylaws.

B.C.s’ Ombudsperson states “bylaws should be fairly and equally enforced,” but this bylaw department’s practice of arbitrary enforcement, requiring some to follow the law while allowing others to flout the rules is both immoral and repugnant, not to mention quite likely illegal.

David Kerr
Saanich

Downtown Victoria not a pretty face

Could the people at Victoria city hall explain why it’s acceptable for every alcove downtown to smell of urine, and to allow the unhoused and drug addicted to take over downtown with garbage and human waste?

Recently I attempted to take the bus in downtown Victoria. While waiting, I saw a drug-addicted man in front of a bank branch who moved around to the point where his pants fell down. He struggled to pull up his own pants for several minutes.

Behind me, in two alcoves, were two other homeless, one with two stolen shopping carts attempting to sleep, or maybe passed out on drugs.

Also, almost every time I walk along Yates Street I see human feces and large piles of garbage strewn about. Meanwhile, the city seem to have endless money for mostly unnecessary bike lanes and road work.

Victoria mayor and council have all failed as leaders and should be ashamed of what has become of Victoria.

Marion Smardon
Victoria

Fireworks? Let’s try being green instead

Regarding Victoria’s Canada Day celebrations, please ditch the idea of having fireworks, and stop being green hypocrites. There are many more nature-friendly ways to celebrate.

Fireworks is an old celebration as people watched enemy ammunitions stores blow up. Change the page.

Bill Yearwood
Victoria

Dairy container deposit just a political cash grab

In no way can the government justify the imposition of the deposit system on all dairy containers. There is no environmental justification as there are no milk containers along the road, in the field or on the beach.

The present collection works, so why the deposit? With tens of thousands of small and large stores daily collecting for the government, the daily take will be far greater than the deposits on glass bottles generated by liquor stores.

This government expects us to wash and save/store those dairy containers and return to a recycle depot many blocks away to redeem the deposit.

Little old ladies can ride their bikes or take a taxi both ways? Very unlikely. The government knows there will always be sizeable dollars of unredeemed deposits that it will put into general revenue. In my opinion, this is the hidden agenda.

Not only is the cost of living jumping up, but this draconian new deposit is just another cost. I feel mighty sorry for those with kids and just scraping by financially and yet another cost to bear unnecessarily.

Is taxing food coming next? This new deposit is a calculated tax grab by the government of B.C.

Tom Good
Qualicum Beach

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