An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE BC LIBERALS — including house leader Todd Stone and finance critic Peter Milobar — want an audit of the “worsening dysfunction” of urgent and primary care centres.
The centres are seriously understaffed at the moment and they want to know what can be done about it.
Well, the entire system is understaffed and we don’t need an audit to tell us that — the numbers are clear. There’s a suggestion that if doctors were given more control of the centres they’d be more efficient but how would that solve the doctor shortage?
The problem plaguing the centres is the same problem as with the rest of the system — too many patients and not enough people to take care of them.
The concept and structure of urgent and primary care centres is sound and, once they’re staffed properly, they’ll accomplish exactly what they were set up to do. The primary care clinics created by the Liberals when they were in power work wonderfully well except for staffing shortages.
I made a choice not to accept another family doctor and, instead, attach myself to a primary care clinic and I don’t regret it for a second. Instead, I have a nurse practitioner. When a nurse practitioner leaves, whether it be to go elsewhere or for maternity leave, etc., there’s no interruption of care because the clinic provides another one.
As for the urgent primary care centres established by the NDP government — some clarity of nomenclature might be in order to better distinguish the two networks — it’s true they haven’t been living up to the promise of same-day, urgent but non-emergency, health care.
When I came down with a virus and needed to see a respiratory physician in urgent primary care, it took four days to get in, not one or two, but it was still a lot quicker than the alternatives.
So, yes, fix the doctor shortage but don’t waste time on an audit.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.