Letters Dec. 28: Dealing with doctor shortage; changing our behaviour

A potential solution to the doctor shortage

For the first time in my life, I have no family physician.

My doctor has retired and no one has taken over his practice. Given the current situation regarding physician production and the outflow of doctors due to their retirement age, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever have a family doctor again.

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I consider myself to be a relatively healthy 61-year-old despite having completed 37 years of military service including multiple operational deployments. Currently, I require little more than an annual visit to renew prescriptions as required by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Now I’ll be another lost patient joining the queue at a local walk-in clinic to access primary-care services. Should I be successful in the patient-care lottery and “win” one of the available appointments, it will use up the valuable time of a highly trained physician, time that could be better used by much more acute or complex patients.

It’s long past time for B.C. to address this situation by adding physician assistants (PAs) to primary-care clinics along with physicians and nurse practitioners in a fully funded, collaborative practice setting.

The education and credentialing of physician assistants is not the issue that protectionist bureaucrats at the B.C. Ministry of Health once used as an excuse to block their integration into our rapidly failing health-care system. Physician assistants are employed in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick, while Canadian Armed Forces physician assistants, where the skill set originated, provide quality medical care in some of the most remote locations in Canada.

Data suggests that 70 per cent of patients could be appropriately managed by physician assistants. With physician assistants joining the currently overworked health-care team, this would greatly improve patient access to timely and appropriate care and no doubt restore the dignity to patients begging for access to the public health-care system.

So, the question becomes, when can British Columbians expect to see physician assistants added the staff of the urgent primary-care clinics?

Mike McBride
Colwood

Yes, but why not make a difference?

Does everybody notice that when people speak of doing something about climate change, they virtually always talk about what somebody else should do?

It’s no skin off the nose of any faculty member at the University of Victoria that an endowment fund there divest fossil-fuel investments as, first it doesn’t affect them directly, and second, those investments will just be replaced with something else.

Why doesn’t the faculty actually do something that counts, that is make an actual sacrifice — like how about taking out staff parking lots on campus and replacing them with grass and trees, or alternatively ban staff from driving on campus?

It would be a start at least. Let’s try to end fossil fuel hypocrisy in B.C. — please.

Terry Sturgeon
Victoria

Disappointing to see darkness at square

My parents and I strolled downtown from Fairfield around 4:30 p.m. Christmas Day in hopes of being wowed by the magical display. To our disapointment, the lights were not lit and the display sat in the darkness of the square.

A couple of dozen people were also at the square looking at the display or lack of one. The security guard we chatted with said that the display would be back on the next day. An oversight maybe? I couldn’t find any information on the internet that mentioned that the display would not be on during the evening of the Dec. 25. Several webpages and articles said the display runs Sunday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

While not the end of the world by any means, it was nonetheless disappointing and worth noting.

Maggie Hofman
Victoria

In the dark at the light display

We too were disappointed to arrive and see lots of people who, like us, had made a special trip to Victoria to see the short seasonal light display.

We don’t drive at night anymore so took the opportunity to stay in a hotel and take a taxi to Centennial Square to see the display that was well advertised as being available for a few hours daily from 4 p.m.

Surely someone could have been hired or at least the lights could have been put on a timer.

Lin and Doug Beardsley
Saanichton

Yes, the Royals have a busy month ahead

No mention of visiting royals in the Friday paper? Classy!

Loved that they and readers alike were spared how many squares of tissue were used in royal flushes at wherever they bunked.

Was thrown briefly by banner sports section headline, “Royals have giant month ahead of them” but now we can relax — until they turn up in Jack Knox’s world, scarfing up Lucille Knox’s fabulous bean dip at New Year’s.

Lon Wood
Maple Bay

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