March 6, 2018 3:30 am

No end in sight to B.C.’s doctor shortage as major online resource disappears

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A A

If you’re looking for a new family doctor, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.’s website is no longer the place to go.

The organization has removed the online database showing doctors who are accepting patients.

But Doctors of BC said the government still has a number of resources to help you find a doctor; the only concern is that there aren’t many doctors to choose from.

READ MORE: Failure to recruit doctors could force BC community to limit ER hours to 9-5

There aren’t enough doctors graduating to replace the ones that are retiring as the population grows older and sicker, said Doctors of BC president Dr. Trina Larsen Soles.

“As the baby boomers move into retirement and live longer, because we’ve been pretty good at keeping people alive, eventually you get ill,” she said.

Story continues below

“You tend to have illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and these are all things like complicated chronic diseases, and it’s not a five-minute office visit.”

READ MORE: B.C. health minister sets goal to increase access to medical care

Larsen Soles said the demand for lengthy and multiple visits is affecting how often doctors can see patients.

To keep up, some doctors are being creative — including some in her community of Golden, B.C.

“We don’t have a social worker, and I spend a lot of time dealing with stuff that isn’t really medical, that someone else could be better trained to do if that we had that possibility, but these things are difficult,” she said.

READ MORE: B.C. doctors seeking a better work-life balance, and that could be hurting care: Vancouver MD

Larsen Soles said physicians are burned out because the health system is so stressed.

The Ministry of Health has spoken with Doctors of BC about developing a project around urgent care centers — but Larsen Soles says there’s just no timeline for it right now.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.