Government to blame for doctor shortage

Re: “Free up money to solve doctor shortage,” comment: Aug. 1.

Dr. Perry Kendall laments that the Doctors of B.C. does not work with the government to accept an annual stipend for doctors rather than fee for service.

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There is a very long history of governments shortchanging the medical profession and rescinding contracts with serious lack of trust. At least a fee-for-service system allows for immediate comparison of value per hour with similar professions.

A dental hygienist charges $180 for removing tartar from teeth in generally less than an hour. A medical surgical assistant, who might harvest leg veins for the vascular or cardiac surgeon to splice into their area is paid $80 an hour for the first three hours.

The government sets doctors’ daytime fee rate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MSP business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A month ago, I assisted the same surgeon for 22 hours continuously in the operating room. The surgeon then went on to a day’s work in his office. I went home to bed.

Yes, we are short of doctors, entirely due to government policy.

Dr. Michael A. Ross

Victoria

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