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Letters May 27: Province oversold urgent-care centres; let's make family doctors happy

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A man walks down the hall at the Urgent Care Centre at 890 Esquimalt Rd. That the province would open such centres without the proper funding and staffing defies common sense, a letter-writer says. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Urgent care centres are no panacea

Re: “You can get good health care, but there’s a catch,” letter, May 24.

This is an excellent, humorous letter. Alas and sadly, it strays from sarcasm to the literal truth when comparing health care for B.C. citizens, with that given to their pets. The blame cannot be assigned to the medical community itself, but rests solely at the Ministry of Health.

To take another analogy with the world of domesticated animals, the Ministry of Health continues to “flog a dead horse” when promoting the success of the Urgent and Primary Care Centres as a solution to the health crisis. To open centres without the proper funding and staffing defies common sense. I doubt if even the bureaucrats in the Propaganda Department of the Ministry of Health believe the spin of misinformation they propagate. I suggest that the name of the facilities be renamed to: “Over-booked, Underfunded and Understaffed Health Centres” to reflect the truths rather than the spin of these centres.

From the lack of success in resolving the health-care crisis to date, over several different provincial governments, we can expect to read many more sad and sarcastic letters from the citizens of B.C. on this topic in the future.

Peter Davis
James Bay

Happy family doctors make for better care

Re: “Why 95-year-old without an MD ended up in emergency,” May 24.

I am a recently retired physician. I live in Calgary. My mother-in-law lives in Victoria. She is 95 going on 96 years old.

While she lived in Calgary with her daughter and me, she had a family physician. Now she does not. So, I can understand the frustration of people here in British Columbia. I just read the article by Dr. Milvi Tiislar, and although I concur with the general theme of the commentary, I also have a different interpretation and message.

As a retired family physician and then anesthesiologist, I know what it is like to practise, be paid well, have no overhead, not be responsible for others from a business perspective, have reasonable life-work balance, and be a part of a multi-disciplinary health-care team — to enjoy my professional role and family and to, as much as possible, avoid politics.

Hospitalists and anesthesiologists are, from my perspective, part of a problem that has evolved over decades. Family physicians deserve to be happy with their circumstances and, if happy, I suspect the standard of care delivered will vastly improve. All that is necessary to accomplish that is for all stakeholders to commit to a collaborative process and to manage self-interest within the confines of limited resources. From my perspective, sadly, that has not occurred, and I see little hope it will in the near future.

For privileged people, physicians and politicians among them, it is essential that they lead by example. If medicine and gatekeepers, politicians, cannot find equitable solutions when challenges linked to competing interests arise, then what hope is there for the rest of the world? One might ask: “Who am I to ‘preach?” As a retired anesthesiologist, like hospitalists, I did not share many of the challenges of family physicians, but I can imagine what they might be and how they might be addressed. I regret being part of the “problem.”

Scott A. Lang, MD (ret’d)
Calgary, Alta.

A mid-Islander’s thoughts on rail

Many of us travel down-Island for professional appointments booked months in advance. Imagine our disappointment when we hear on the awaited day the Malahat or other portion of the route is closed for several hours or the whole day.

Everything is quickly cancelled.

Some of us get held up for hours as an accident is cleared, and again miss the appointment.

As promised to B.C. in 1871, our once-reliable rail service should be reinstated. We can not cycle or walk on the proposed “continuous trail.”

Gail Brighton
Nanoose Bay

Plenty of risks on West Coast Trail

Regarding the recent rescue on the West Coast Trail, I find it frustrating to hear that Parks Canada does not appear to have changed its approach to managing the extraordinarily high level of risk on the trail. The rate of injuries that require evacuation and dedicated resources is shocking. We hiked it in 2018 and observed the deteriorated structures and experienced the corresponding injuries. Parks Canada points to the problem as a need for “seasoned backcountry hikers” with experience, but conditions on the trail present risk that is indifferent to one’s level of experience.

It’s primarily the poor condition of the infrastructure that is presenting the risk, not the natural conditions of the trail. While their spokesperson states they focus their work on structures that present the highest risks, that leaves much of the 75 kilometres of infrastructure in conditions that do not meet safe standards.

People generally don’t seriously hurt themselves slogging through mud or trudging down a beach. It’s the broken and rotten slats and ladders and slippery boardwalks that are the problem. If Parks Canada wants to blame it on the hikers and cannot maintain the infrastructure, then please remove it. Although it would be slower, it would also be much safer for the many hikers who seek to use this amazing trail.

Michael Hill
Esquimalt

We need to take back the Maple Leaf

As July 1 is drawing near, Canadians need to take back their flag by everyone putting up one and removing the stigma from doing so. I was talking to a friend yesterday who was hesitant to put up a flag, as he didn’t want to be seen as supporting the convoy radicals.

So let’s all put up our flags, and take this symbol away from them.

Paul Ellegood
Courtenay

Control your phone, or leave it at home

I hope there is a special place in hell for those people who can not seem to control their cellphones.

At a recent performance of Theatre Inconnu’s powerful East of Berlin, phones went off three times — despite a pre-show warning to turn them off.

What is it about a seemingly normal adult’s addiction to a piece of electronics? We existed for millennia without them. Leave your device at home if you can’t tame it.

Anne Moon
Victoria

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• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing.