Letters July 24: Pros and cons of urgent care clinics; virus puts health dollars at risk

Thanks to government for the new clinics

Re: “Downtown Victoria gets an urgent care centre,” July 22.

I have been very pleased to see the new North Quadra Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Chatterton Way in Saanich.

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I have had over my 15 years in Victoria a wonderful general practice physician with his own practice facilities in partnership with another doctor, but I realize I am fortunate and among the few, and might have needed access to general practice care without him.

Before these new UPCC clinics were opening, I searched in frustration for walk-in clinics that would be available to two different friends who were either new to Victoria or whose doctor had retired — either the privately run clinics would not answer the telephone, their website if in existence had little information and frequently said “closed,” and on visiting several, one had to stay outside and make a phone call [all this prior to COVID-19] to make an appointment.

What about someone without a car, ­trying to settle on one of these clinics? Yes, the Medimap service on the web helped, but not all clinics were affiliated with it.

Then, when seeing a long line of seniors standing outside a walk-in clinic in a nearby shopping centre one cold morning around 7:30, a clinic that did not seem to have a presence online, I wrote to Health Minister Adrian Dix and was thankfully advised of the soon-to-open urgent and primary care clinics. And nurses and nurse practitioners are welcome, surely, for blood pressure and skin-care checks, etc.

Thank you, Government of B.C.

Regarding not always seeing the same doctor, sometimes a second opinion is valuable.

Young doctors were not coming here to practice owing to costly real estate and staff, as well as sky-high living costs.

The physician from one of the existing clinics, not part of this new network, who was described in the article as advocating government assistance to the older method of privately funded practices with continuing same-physician care, could certainly practise in one of the UPCCs, which are trying to provide that as well.

I don’t understand his criticism of the new service: When he retires, what will happen to his patients? New young doctors couldn’t afford the real estate. And other privately held walk-in clinics are closing, as well.

Saskatchewan recruits doctors vigorously for its remote areas, including from other countries, and supports their services with clinic space and staff.

Janet Doyle

A dismal failure of the medical system

I never thought that I would witness the demise of the family doctor. One more urgent and primary care centre in ­Victoria puts another nail in the coffin of the system of traditional doctor/patient ongoing care.

Each UPCC is geographically based. To even apply to become a patient, two pieces of ID are required to prove residency within the established boundaries of each UPCC.

And if the Westshore UPCC is anything to go by, this taxpayer-funded system is a dismal failure.

I needed an X-ray requisition and dutifully arrived at 7:15 a.m. and lined up with 20 other people to wait for the 8 a.m. opening, only to be told at 8 a.m. that the facility was “at capacity” because only one doctor had shown up for work that day!

How can a sick person get the care they need when no one seems to care?

Linda Swain

Provincial UPCCs are working well

Re. “Downtown Victoria gets an urgent care centre,” July 22.

The province’s new urgent and primary care centres were created with the goals of reducing the number of British Columbians who don’t have a family doctor and lessening pressure on hospital emergency rooms. Once they become fully operational and statistical analysis is done, we’ll learn whether the goals have been met. But I suspect that they will prove to be successful in these regards.

This article quotes an Oak Bay doctor who questions the nature of care provided by these centres, and I am writing to set his mind at ease.

My wife and I have been “attached” to the James Bay UPCC since it opened almost two years ago, and we can testify that we are receiving better health care now than we did previously from our family physician and our neighbourhood clinic.

Each of us has been assigned to a ­primary care doctor at the centre, both of whom have taken a strong personal ­interest in our health.

They supervise our medication, ­requisition recommended tests, provide specialist referrals, conduct periodic examinations and initiate calls to check up on us from time to time. They ­remember us individually and ­proactively monitor our well-being.

They are assisted by a range of ­supporting health practitioners on-site, and if one of them is unavailable at a time when we need their help, an alternative professional is present at the centre to fill in with equally capable care.

Our UPCC is well-staffed administratively and they respond promptly to our calls for appointments, instructions and consultations with our doctors.

Wait times are minimal, and our centre operates effectively as both a walk-in clinic and a longitudinal provider of individualized medical care.

The quoted doctor in Oak Bay may rest easy about the quality and consistency of care provided by B.C.’s new UPCCs, and I encourage the government to ­proceed confidently with the expansion of this progressive response to the ­serious health-care delivery problems in our province.

Robin Farquhar

Pay family doctors what they deserve

Family doctors have the hardest job, yet are paid the least. They must have a working knowledge of changes in all areas of medicine.

So they have to do lots of reading. They work long hours. New graduates do not want to be GPs.

Being a specialist takes a few more years of education, but it pays off in huge salaries and a narrow focus and shorter hours.

We need to pay GPs a lot more and help them with business expenses. If we do not, we have an inferior medical system. And the problem has reached a crisis level.

Sara Chu

COVID puts health-care dollars at risk

As a retired physician, it has been ­obvious that our universal health care system has been a wonder, but a constant fiscal struggle.

Health-care dollars are fixed by ­budgets, themselves limited by the ­willingness of us all to pay taxes.

Wasting health care always takes away some other form of care ­delivery: ­surgeries, public health, outpatient ­clinics as examples.

Refusal to be vaccinated against COVID, now widely available, miraculously, is an individual’s choice, but that choice has real costs: Risks to self and others, and in the end denial of all health care that could have been avoided.

Why do we put up with this?

I can imagine that it won’t be long until private health-care insurers in the United States will deny claims for COVID care for unvaccinated patients.

B.C., and all of Canada, should consider this.

Dr. J. David Hilton
North Saanich

No COVID vaccine? Then no public activities

There should be no discussion as to the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines!

In addition to being ignorant, most of the people who are refusing to be ­vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus are irresponsible and selfish. Ninety-nine per cent of the population who have recently been infected by the Delta variant of this coronavirus have not had their vaccines. Those of us who have recieved our double vaccines are not becoming ill. Thus, the greatest danger to our population is the unvaccinated population. These people are a danger to our defeating the pandemic.

Other than people who have valid health reasons for turning down the ­vaccines, no one who has rejected the vaccines should be permitted to ­participate in any public activities. Nor should they be allowed to travel ­anywhere by mass transportation.

We are so fortunate in B.C. to have available vaccines for anybody who wishes to be protected against this deadly virus. There are so many countries who have barely started to vaccinate their populations. I expect that they would trade places with us in a flash.

Canada should be helping to donate vaccines to all the countries that cannot afford them.

Kirsty Williams

West Virginia not a great example

Re: “Trepidation about those Americans,” letters, July 22.

I am curious as to why the writer chose West Virginia as his bogeyman. Since this is clearly a letter about the COVID-19 crisis and fears of infected travellers, I should point out that West Virginia is doing better than the national average for cases per capita and deaths per capita.

True, they are lagging behind in vaccination rates, but they are certainly not the worst. There are several states in the South that are far behind West Virginia, which is not part of the South.

So again, I have to ask, why reference a “Winnebago full of West Virginians”? Out of ignorance perhaps?

Alan Thurston

Know anyone from West Virginia?

Re: “Trepidation about those Americans,” letters, July 22.

I am a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. I was born in West ­Virginia, where most of my family still lives and where I still maintain a home in Canaan Valley.

I don’t appreciate the anti-American digs in general, but especially dislike the singling out of West Virginians for an insult in his letter. Has he been to West Virginia, know anyone from there?

Michael Gatens

No logical sense in border closures

Premier John Horgan was a bit out of touch with reality when he said that not many Canadians are interested in going to the United States by land at this time of year.

Of course Canadians (lots of them) cross the U.S. border during any time of year, by the thousands. Just check the number of reservations on B.C. Ferries and the Coho ferry, and you will find that those ferries are full of Canadian tourists heading south to Disneyland, with kids.

Las Vegas, shopping in Seattle, ­baseball games in Seattle and so on. Although we can still fly to the U.S., many people prefer to drive, that way pets can ­accompany them. Most motels nowadays accept pets.

The U.S. border not being open to us until August or later doesn’t make any logical sense to me, because the rules at both borders are the same; everyone must be fully vaccinated for COVID, so why have different crossing dates?

Alex Badiuk

Reverend Al deserves thanks from us all

I remember this gentle man, Rev. Al Tysick, coming down to the welfare office to be sure people got their cheques on time. He worked quietly making sure he cared for them.

To think he worked quietly amongst us for 35 years, and we as part of the rest of the community owe him our ­collected thanks. He really did the most ­remarkable job caring for everyone regardless of race, colour or creed.

Diana Satok

Great saying, not the right author

Re: “There is true bliss just 50 miles up,” letter, July 21.

John Gillespie Magee penned the words “slipped the surly bonds of earth” in the poem High Flight. Not Robert Service.

Robert Milan

Getting to the truth takes too much time

Re: “Residential schools letter was racist and derisive,” letter, July 21.

As the writer of the original letter, I would like to thank the contributor for proving my point exactly.

There is nothing racist in me. I work with First Nations and will not be shamed into becoming a liar to serve an agenda.

Nowhere in my letter did I deny what transpired at residential schools, the point was to make ultra-liberals actually read the report instead of spewing sound bites taken as truth, which clearly didn’t happen, as you’ve gone straight back to the rhetoric without an ounce of seeing why I wrote the letter.

As for trying to be cruel toward ­survivors, that is an assumption — and it is incorrect. It seems apparent that as with too many people today, trying to hone in to get to the truth is just too much work, so instead, the letter has slandered my name and the editors.

Misappropriating text taken out of context is a common trait to conveniently misguide others to a chosen point of view.

Virtue signalling does not solve the problems with the First Nations, it only prolongs and obfuscates it.

Tim Murphy

Too many ferries, not enough trains

So B.C. Ferries is putting two ferries on the Quadra Island route (population 2,400) and Gabriola Island (population 6,000).

How about spending the equivalent money on the E&N Railway? Giving people on two tiny islands two ferries is a waste of everyone’s money and is not needed. Dumping tons of money into more buses is not the answer, either.

Do the smart thing and put money into the railway.

Joe Dingman


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