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Letters Oct. 27: Local doctor shortage is worsening; Dr. Henry deserves a harassment-free life

Doctor shortage is not easing On Monday, I received a phone call from my family doctor’s secretary. I was told that the doctor was reducing the size of her practice.
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Patients line up outside as they wait for the Shoreline Medical clinic in Sidney to open. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Doctor shortage is not easing

On Monday, I received a phone call from my family doctor’s secretary. I was told that the doctor was reducing the size of her practice. Since I had not seen the doctor in over a year, I was no longer wanted as a patient.

I had booked a telephone appointment three weeks ago to speak to the doctor about a prescription renewal. It would have been on Friday. This doctor refuses to honour that appointment.

Since COVID, appointments are needed at walk-in clinics. I called and/or tried to book an online appointment.

I called one clinic and was told to call everyday at 9:30 a.m. to try and book an appointment for the next day. Appointments could only be booked 24 hours in advance.

I tried to book an appointment online at another clinic. I filled out all forms only to find at the last step that all doctors were fully booked — they were NOT taking any future bookings.

The website for unattached patients in Victoria says this: There are no physicians accepting new patients in the Victoria area.

I have asked my friends, neighbours and pharmacist for any leads on a family doctor. All I get in response is sympathy. Many of these same people have been without a family doctor for many years.

Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix: You have had many years to try and fix this problem. Your current strategy is a failing strategy. It’s time for a change.

Janice Marr

Victoria

In need of a doctor in the Royal Oak area

We have lived in the Royal Oak area of Saanich for 38 years. A year ago, our young doctor was diagnosed with cancer and is required to be on chemo for two years.

He closed his practice and we now go to a walk-in clinic where we are registered. We are happy that the clinic is reasonably close to home and the staff are friendly and caring.

The procedure is to either phone or personally stand outside for an appointment. When we telephone, appointments are usually all booked for the day. To have to stand outside early in the morning is not an easy thing to do and we are not assured of getting in.

In both those cases we are told to phone another day.

To fill a prescription, first you have to get through to the office staff who then proceed to tell you that you’ll have to see your care person, which means an appointment will have to be made.

Appointments can only be made for the day, so what do you do?

We are nearly 80 years old. How many other retirees are in this predicament? We can only hope our doctor has a speedy recovery and will reopen his practice, because everyone we speak to say their doctor is not taking new patients.

We can only hope this problem will soon be resolved.

Karin and Roger Boothroyd

Saanich

Let Dr. Bonnie Henry live without harassment

What have we come to? It’s a sad state of affairs where a doctor running a race in Victoria requires a security detail.

Dr. Bonnie Henry is just doing her job and doing it very well — keeping us as safe and healthy as possible while allowing our economy to keep on ticking and life to go on.

Surely the citizens of our fair city and the province at large could be more compassionate and understanding and allow her to enjoy her life as much as she is working to allow all of us to enjoy ours.

B.R. Sparkes

Colwood

UVic students need better access to COVID tests

In doing research on B.C.’s response to the COVID pandemic, I am learning much about the conditions of local life brought on by the virus.

My students tell me that they must wait to to four days to get a COVID test. As there is limited on-campus testing (only for the unvaccinated), students are often forced to bus into town for a test.

Unwell enough to cycle and not owning a car, the only alternative is a bus ride and the stressful risk of passing the dreaded disease on to other passengers.

It is perplexing that widespread testing is not made available in one of the few environments that doesn’t mandate vaccination. There is a private clinic in Victoria that provides tests, but its voice mail has been full for the last three days and its online registration system indicates that all the clinic doctors are fully booked.

Colleagues and friends in Ontario, Quebec and elsewhere describe quite a different experience. They can walk in off the street, no appointment necessary with no lineup, and for around $15 receive a rapid test and be out the door with results minutes later.

Conversations with pharmacists at the major local pharmacies reveal only unanswered questions as to why similar services are unavailable here.

It strikes me that there is little logic in the current conditions of our COVID lives in the hinterland.

Dr. A. Claire Cutler, professor

Department of Political Science

University of Victoria

Waiting for a booster shot? Try calling in

Don’t assume, if you expect a COVID booster shot, you will be contacted by the provincial government.

As a hemodialysis and cancer patient, I took for granted I met the conditions required for receiving a COVID booster shot. However, as the government’s promised notification dates rolled by, and friends and associates informed me they had been contacted, I became concerned.

I contacted the toll-free number to explain my concerns. The woman at the other end of the line listened and then told me to wait.

After about five minutes she returned and asked for my Health ID number again, and then asked what I wanted again, and then said that I should have been contacted but they had no contact information.

Odd, as that information was available on the B.C. Health Gateway. We eventually negotiated an injection time in about two weeks, and I was promised a confirmation number. Still the days roll by, and no confirmation text has appeared.

This experience begs two simple questions. Are the people operating the vaccine registration working on a separate computer platform from the Health Gateway? And if so, why?

This leads to a third question: Does the left hand have any idea what the right hand is doing in this process?

With all due respect, this confusion needs to be sorted out, and if immune-compromised people are wondering why they haven’t been contacted, they should call the government’s vaccine number right away.

As an aside, using my experience, I would also assure anti-vaxxers who fear that tracking chips are inserted into people during the shot that the government couldn’t track a COVID-vaccinated elephant if it was window shopping along Douglas Street.

Barrie Moen

Oak Bay

Are we facing inflation or extinction?

Our world is facing dire problems of social injustice, some growing with climate change.

Resulting culling or even extinction indicates massive government expenditures to meet even less than the minimum of ethically required action to attempt a credible correction effort.

Some governments, particularly those with limited persuasive powers and shaky tenure, resort to printing money on top of a system of private banking and finance constantly increasing money supply.

Inflation results, when significant, leading to currency devaluation and extreme hardship for many people. It may be more disruptive in a country, thereby losing its status as a reserve currency and for those jurisdictions closely tied to the economic fortunes of that country, such as Canada is to the U.S. as well as poorer ones.

New economic theory allows governments to persuade us that this can be done safely. We must hope they are right, as there is little social justice without climate justice, and no climate justice without vast sums of government money to directly encourage and enforce both goods producers and consumers to operate with considerably more material modesty and discretion in a more egalitarian and supportive manner.

Otherwise we’ll be sick from pollution, dying, and at war with one another for food, water and resilient shelter.

Glynne Evans

Saanich

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