Reduce administration, restore prestige of family practice
Your editorial in the Oct. 1 edition of the Cowichan Valley Citizen, entitled “Doctor shortage” misses an important element in the shortage of family doctors debate. I am registered with a practice in the Cowichan area and a few months ago I lost my family GP who left the province. The practice has been searching for a candidate to fill the void for around one year but applicants — mostly recently trained doctors — only want to be walk-in practitioners. This I gleaned from a conversation with one of the practice’s doctors.
On a separate, unrelated occasion I was speaking with a young doctor who is doing locum work in walk-in clinics at which point I mentioned the vacancy at the clinic where I am registered. It appears this doctor has no interest in family medicine because there is too much paperwork involved, corroborating what I was told by the doctor in my home practice.
While I welcome the news, as you do, of enhanced funding for supplementary resources, I am concerned that the initiative will backfire unless either the newer ranks of doctors capture a better sense of vocation or the administration involved in family medicine is streamlined. In either case, perhaps the College of Physicians needs to step up to pressure the bureaucracy to reduce the administrative burden and restore prestige to being a family doctor.