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Letters May 7: The growing doctor dilemma; protest prevention; a reprieve for criminals?

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Letter-writers are expressing their frustrations with the ongoing shortage of family doctors on the Island. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

College maintains high standards for B.C.

Re: “Governance of doctors has caused this shortage,” letter, May 4.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. shares the concerns of Dr. J.D. Hilton and many British Columbians about the lack of access to family physicians in our province.

Contrary to Hilton’s erroneous characterization, however, the College is not a “guild.” The College regulates the medical profession and is unwaveringly committed to its mandate to protect the public.

The College has a very specific role in health human resourcing, which is to ensure those who apply to practise ­medicine in B.C. meet the necessary requirements and have the appropriate qualifications.

Robust standards and requirements are maintained so that B.C. patients can be confident they are receiving the best possible care from their physician.

Access to a family physician is a ­pressing and complex issue with no ­simple solution. That is why the College will continue to work with government and other partners to address our province’s health human resourcing issues.

Heidi M. Oetter, MD
Registrar and CEO

College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.

Waiting a year to check on two lumps

“Excellent health and care for everyone” is the vision that Island Health promotes, but it is the very opposite.

I grew up in Ontario and moved here assuming that Ontario’s standard of care would be the standard here, seeing that it’s in the same country.

I have two lumps that could be ­cancer and I have to wait a year for an ­ultrasound. A year of not knowing if I’m dying. Pregnant women can get in to find out the gender of their babies, but I’m ­waiting a year to find out if I have cancer. ­Excellent care?

My brother in Ontario coincidentally has a lump too. They got him in for an ultrasound within days.

I’ve heard people say when they have cancer “it’s good we caught it early,” but in my case, there is no chance of that. I wonder what effect this stress will have on my health.

I have an eight-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son that might grow up without a mother. These are the things I get to think about for a year.

If I had the resources I would just fly to Ontario to find out what’s going on because I can’t rely on health care on this island.

Is there only one ultrasound tech on Vancouver Island or something?

I wish I had been warned before ­moving here that the health-care system is unable to fulfil the needs of those who live here.

Zara Tomes
Courtenay

Pay doctors more to save medical clinics

The closure of the medical clinic in Ucluelet will be a disaster for all of us. At least 3,600 people rely on it. The clinic in Tofino treats a population base of even more than us.

There is no way that the Tonquin Clinic in Tofino can absorb the patients from Ukee, nor will the Tofino Hospital be able to cope with the increased use of the emergency department that will result, because when you are sick or injured, and the clinic isn’t open or can’t fit you in, and you have to get some help quickly, you can’t head to Port Alberni — you go to the local emergency department.

This is a two-pronged emergency. First, what can be done to prevent the Ukee clinic from closing? Sadly, I think the answer will be “Nothing.”

Second, when is the government going to wake up? We are not the only people who will have lost their family/local doctor or clinic. This is an immense problem, one that has been visible and growing for decades, and no government has done anything about it.

More money must be paid to doctors. If taxes have to go up to cover that, OK. But everyone deserves to have a family/local doctor, and that means that doctors must be paid a decent fee.

All the B.C. governments in the past 20 years have failed us, but ignoring the problem and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t fix it.

Laurie Crozier
Ucluelet

Check which MLAs have family doctors

Which MLAs are doctorless? Could it be that like the housing crisis, MLAs are not taking the family physician crisis seriously because they and their families are not suffering like the rest of us?

It would be very interesting to see if the percentage of MLAs without access to a family doctor matches the provincial average. I suspect not.

Kevin Cuddihy
Saanich

High-pressure water is not a blockade solution

A recent letter suggested the use of high-pressure water to clear demonstrators from road blockades. The writer seemed to think that this would be a gentle but effective means of ensuring public order.

I am a retired police officer and for a short while I served on our department’s riot squad, now referred to as a public order unit. I can assure the writer that the use of high-pressure water cannons is anything but gentle and can cause ­serious, life-threatening injuries if not used judiciously.

I might also mention that fire departments, at least in my experience, will not under any circumstances deploy their personnel to perform work related to quelling public disorder.

I do not condone the actions of ­demonstrators blockading roads, but the use of water cannons or fire hoses to ­disperse protesters is best left to the repressive governments around the world that we claim to be better than.

Len Dafoe
Nanoose Bay

Criminal element gets a four-month break

I just don’t believe what is ­happening with our “justice system” and the ­blatant stupidity it seems to be buried in! Another damn “survey” to find out what everybody knows and has known for the past few years? And at what cost to the taxpayers this time?

So now the criminals know they have at least a four-month reprieve, and even more than that because it will take at least several months after that, if not years, for anything to be implemented, and in the meantime the assaults and crimes just continue?

What society has become is nothing short of unbelievable. No wonder so many people are just staying away from downtown completely.

I know our family and many others we know haven’t been near Victoria for a few years, and it will be a long time before we think about going there. Time to take our own safety into our own hands, I guess.

Mike Butler
Saanich

Oak Bay residents lost a perfect option

Re: “They gambled and lost with the Quest proposal in Oak Bay,” commentary, April 23.

Some salient facts were left out. The Quest proposal should not have been a gamble, but the game was rigged.

It should not be a gamble when a ­development proposal aligns with the objectives and goals of the Official Community Plan, a document that is literally written by the people, for the people.

Uncertainty for developers is supposed to be mitigated through the official plan and municipal policies and procedures.

The Quest proposal was supported unanimously by staff as well as the Advisory Planning Committee and Advisory Design Panel. Both of these groups are comprised of industry professionals who volunteer to review applications and provide recommendations to council.

One wonders why this proposal didn’t go to public hearing. It could be argued that it should be standard procedure to go to a public hearing to protect the public interest.

It is a travesty of process when elected officials can apply their own self-interest and ignore their advisory bodies, policies, procedures and staff, and by extension disrespect the entire community.

It is not a councillor’s job to decide if they “like” a project or if they “feel it is too big,” or to impose policy that doesn’t exist. It is their job to assure good governance. It came as no surprise that the provincial government is considering stepping in.

The Quest project would have provided a perfect option for those of us who live in Oak Bay and wish to downsize and remain property owners in Oak Bay in a modern building (which exceeds the B.C. Energy Step Code) with all of the ensuing safety features and conveniences.

Edward Lien
Victoria

Blasting, hammering and then high rents

I was born and raised in Victoria. I moved away a few times, but always came back as big cities with nothing but concrete skyscrapers just didn’t work for me. I missed any buildings with charm.

I live downtown only because my rent is subsidized for low-income seniors. For the 10 years I have lived here, all I have heard is blasting, hammering and various other noises due to non-stop building of one concrete monstrosity after another.

The city has become ugly and no ­different than the places I left to return “home.”

These buildings have no affordable housing. The rents start at more than I live on per month. All I can hope is that when we get a new city council that they will stop the madness. The traffic and noise is not the Victoria I knew.

Carol Dunsmuir
Victoria

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