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Letters May 4: Roots of the MD shortage; questions for Kevin Falcon; the power of words

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A letter-writer suggests the shortage of family doctors is partly the result of preferential treatment and compensation for specialists in British Columbia. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Governance of doctors has caused this shortage

The shortage of access to family physicians by so many patients in Victoria, and all of B.C., is at a level where urgent action is needed.

This is not about politics of government, but the governance of physicians.

I am a retired specialist physician. It is probable that most people want to blame the government, who, in some ways, are responsible.

A very large issue, though, is caused by the powers of the College of Physicians who work as gatekeepers to what amounts to a guild.

A second issue is physicians themselves, where specialists outnumber family doctors, and have for years voted together, to use new money, whenever it comes, and leave an ever-widening gap fiscally between specialist and family-physician compensation.

We have all been proud of the universality of our health-care system, but maybe when you don’t have a doctor, those who need one should be allowed to pay for a visit.

All these issues need urgent attention by many sides, and trying to once again remember that health care is about patients first, not the systems or the people who deliver the care.

Dr. J.D. Hilton (ret’d)
North Saanich

She is calling Langley to get health care

I’m a 57-year-old woman who moved here more than four years ago and I have a 12-year-old daughter — and we don’t have a doctor. Her schoolmates who moved here in the past few years are faced with the same situation.

I had to book a colonoscopy with my doctor in Langley, otherwise I would still be waiting here. My neighbour also needs a colonoscopy badly and has severe bowel bleeding, and he was told that there is a quota for colonoscopies and he will have to go on a waiting list.

My nephew who lives with me has to call a walk-in centre in Langley, first thing Saturday morning when he’s not at work, in order to get his insulin prescription filled.

The list is endless. It is only going to get worse.

There is always enough money to pay for drugs and housing for the homeless people, which is where people eventually end up from mental-health issues and not getting the correct treatment in time.

Very shameful what this country is coming to.

Colleen Ferguson
Victoria

Governments are hurting our health care

In response to the recent announcement about the dental-care program, it appears that the federal Liberals and NDP like to buy votes.

Isn’t that exactly what they did by making the alliance between them establishing the national dental-care program? Haven’t we had enough of federal and provincial mismanagement of our health-care system so that now, we’d like to have them also mismanage and underfund the dental-care program?

All parties know we’re in a health-care crisis, and so what do they do but open the door for yet another underfunded and mismanaged government program. But it should bring in votes for them in the next election, don’t you think?

We constantly hear of professionals from other countries who are trying to come to Canada, and the horror stories that they tell about the unbelievable bureaucracy that they face and the delays and costs of becoming “qualified” in Canada.

One would think that many of these applicants could be brought on stream almost immediately in lower levels such as nursing assistants or nurse practitioners, which would aid them in finding employment, and help with the medical personnel shortages from nurses to doctors.

They could work to become qualified in their chosen profession as doctors, nurses and so on.

Unfortunately, our governments don’t seem to want to act quickly enough to try to alleviate some of the issues that are presenting themselves because they don’t want to lose votes. We need new eyes to see how to move forward and resolve some of these serious problems. If we don’t, nothing will change.

Ernie Kuemmel
Oak Bay

Welcome back Mr. Falcon, now for some questions

A warm welcome back to Kevin Falcon after about nine years out of politics. As the new Liberal leader of the Opposition, I am sure he will liven up things in the legislature.

However, before he gets onto criticizing any/all of the various NDP spending policies, let’s ask him to clarify some old business.

As the minister of finance during part of the period the Liberals literally stole $1.2 billion from ICBC to falsely show balanced budgets, what was his role in this decision and how, even for a second, did he think it was OK to do this?

I am sure somewhere in the past he has spouted off about the qualities of honesty and integrity, so where were those attributes at that time?

I look forward to his explanation and seeing if he has learned anything from his past behaviour.

Wayne Messer
Saanich

The simplest terms are also the most clear

Lawrie McFarlane’s recent comments on bureaucratese such as “enhanced interrogation” meaning “torture,” and “negative patient outcome” meaning “the patient died,” prompt me to ask a few questions.

Languages are fluid, of course, but would he agree that language changes that are simply attempts to camouflage the real meaning of a word can seem nefarious?

Has lobbying to change “tarsands” to “oilsands” made these uglyscapes prettier, or are we just supposed to think that?

Are “landfills” at the edge of town more appealing than “dumps” where we used to shoot rats with our BB guns?

Are “used cars” any less used now that they are called “pre-owned cars?”

Are advertised “sleep systems” any better for us than old fashioned “beds?”

Has “sludge” become aromatically and socially acceptable now that we call the stuff “biodegradables?”

I assume that McFarlane and I are on the same wavelength.

Terry Huntington
Victoria

Policing that reflects their communities

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was quick to push amalgamation of local police forces, after release of the MLAs’ report on policing. She uses all the buzzwords: systemic racism, lack of trust, decolonizing. I’m surprised “defunding” wasn’t in there.

I have had “average citizen” experiences with police officers from the Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay forces. I concluded that Victoria police reflect their city core duties.

Amalgamation will drag the suburban police forces into the same confrontational style of policing.

Alanne Gibson
Victoria

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